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South Africa's 2010 Cup challenge

Football
Money from the World Cup would be welcomed by township dwellers
A ceremony is being held in Germany to officially hand over the World Cup to South Africa, which in 2010 will become the first African country to host the championship. The BBC's Mohammed Allie looks at what needs to be done.

South Africa's 2010 football World Cup is set to be the most commercially successful since the first tournament was held 76 years ago.

The event has already attracted more marketing and television attention than the 2006 event, according to Fifa President Sepp Blatter.

"The market trusts Africa," Mr Blatter says.

2010 budget
5bn rand for stadiums
3.5bn rand other capital investment
5.2bn rand for upgrading airports
3.5bn rand for better roads and railways
(7 rand = $1)
"The contracts we have already signed for 2010 are higher than the contracts for 2006 in Germany by about 25%."

Agreements with five strategic partners for 2010 are valued at more than 1bn Swiss francs (about $821 million). This dwarfs the 850m francs ($700m) worth of deals done for the German World Cup.

Companies have to fork out around $125m to be one of the six worldwide partners involved with the 2010 World Cup.

In addition there will also be eight World Cup sponsors and four to six national sponsors. Entry level sponsorship is likely to be around $40m.

Confidence

Being entrusted by Fifa to host its flagship event is indeed a massive vote of confidence in the infrastructure and organisational capacity of South Africa, more so since it will be the first time the event will be held on African soil.

Events in recent months have, however, given the sceptics ample ammunition as South Africa's state of readiness comes under the microscope. The scepticism surfaced after potential shortcomings were exposed in the space of a few weeks earlier this year.

Soccer City
This is an artists impression of the upgraded soccer city stadium in Johannesburg
First, there were a series of unannounced cuts to Cape Town's electricity supply.

Next, there was a report to Parliament's Communications Portfolio Committee which revealed that the country's 30-year old broadcast infrastructure was not ready to cope with the needs of the World Cup.

Sentech Chief Executive Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane says a multibillion dollar investment in digital broadcasting transmission is needed to properly serve a worldwide television audience.

Sentech, the state-owned national broadcasting signal distributor, is due for an upgrade which will allay fears about the broadcasting capacity while Eskom, the national electricity supplier, has already started plans to upgrade its capacity.

Stadium row

Transport is an ongoing headache: South Africa's cities rely on privately-owned minibus taxis, and long-anticipated plans to upgrade the fleet are only now starting to get under away.

South African children
In this children's world cup in South Africa, Germany lost to Cuba
The Gautrain, an ambitious rail project aimed at easing traffic congestion in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area, will only be partly completed by 2010. It will take tourists from the airport as far as the suburb of Sandton, but will go nowhere near any of the stadiums.

In Cape Town, a proposed new 67,000-seat stadium, earmarked to host a semi-final match, has also got off to a faltering start.

The city's new Mayor, Helen Zille, from the opposition Democratic Alliance, has questioned where the more than 1bn rand (about $160m) will come from to finance the construction of the stadium.

Ms Zille does not want the stadium to sideline more pressing needs like housing, sanitation and other essential services for the city's poor.

Even the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), allied to the ANC, supported the mayor's stance, saying the needs of the poor should come before an expensive football stadium.

Ms Zille's fears on funding the stadium seem to have been allayed following a meeting with government officials and the Local Organising Committee (LOC), but there are still questions over the site of Cape Town's stadium.

The designated area, which is magnificently located with Robben Island and Table Mountain on either side, will displace a 130-year-old golf course. This proposal has met with stiff opposition from local residents and members of the golf club.

Still, most of the five new stadiums to be constructed in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane and Nelspruit are due to begin by November and are expected to be ready for trial runs at the 2009 Confederations Cup which features the champions of all six Fifa Confederations together with the World Champions and the host nation.

Upgrades

The other more established venues require minor upgrades which will commence at a later stage. "Many of the stadiums already have world class facilities and only require technical upgrades. The alterations at established venues such as Ellis Park, Bloemfontein and Soccer City can be left for a later date. With the continuous technical developments it makes sense to start these closer to 2010," says Danny Jordaan, Chief Executive of the LOC.

Given the employment and business prospects associated with hosting an event as big as the World Cup, South Africa's beleaguered textile industry is hoping that the tournament will revive its fortunes.

The industry, which has lost an estimated 200,000 jobs over the past five years due mainly to the influx of cheaper Chinese imports, is looking at cashing in on producing memorabilia like T-shirts, caps, hats and scarves.

"The reason we're backing the World Cup is that there should be employment and procurement opportunities for locals. It shouldn't just benefit those who are already wealthy," says Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu's Western Cape general secretary.

"If we aren't happy with economic opportunities for locals we will be protesting at the 2010 World Cup."

Opportunities

Danny Jordaan agrees with the principle of using the tournament to provide economic opportunities, saying there were already policies in place to ensure the empowerment of black business and entrepreneurs.

The LOC predicts that the tournament will create 160,000 jobs and will contribute more than 20 billion rand (about $3.6 billion) to the country's gross domestic product.

Many local small business owners are, however, concerned that they may have to pay exorbitant licensing fees to Fifa, which controls its own marketing and television rights. This implies that companies which are not licensed by Fifa would not be able to sell their products or services in or around the World Cup venues.

"Many local clothing manufacturers I've spoken to say they won't be able to afford the fees and would therefore simply try to sidestep the rules when the event draws closer," says Navavee Matthews, who works for a marketing company.

The money-making potential of the World Cup is enormous and it will be a great tragedy if the expectations of so many of the country's aspirant entrepreneurs are stifled by Fifa's tight licensing conditions.



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