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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 15:50 GMT
Apartheid activist wants World Cup boom
By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News, Johannesburg

Danny Jordaan at the World Cup draw
Danny Jordaan says the tournament will be a force for a national renewal

For most countries, securing the rights to host the World Cup means national promotion, a chance to show off the latest technological and engineering innovations, and the chance to cash in on a summer tourism and consumer spending boom.

However, for South Africa to secure the 2010 event much more was a stake - both commercially and socially.

Staging the globe's showcase football event has become intertwined with rebuilding the economy, banishing the divisions of apartheid, and establishing a new national identity.

This vision of a World Cup that aids the economically disadvantaged is being driven by the head of the 2010 organising committee, Danny Jordaan, a former lecturer, politician and anti-apartheid activist.

"Our pursuit of the football World Cup was part of a broader agenda," he explains, speaking at the Soccerex football business convention in Johannesburg.

"South Africa, after 1990, faced the challenge of building a brand for our country."

And Mr Jordaan says the decision was made, strongly supported by Nelson Mandela, to build a new "national brand" through hosting major sporting events.

"When a country has come from a struggle between black and white people we want them to then come together and pursue the promotion of the country together - the World Cup is such a project," he explains.

Total access

But Mr Jordaan says the main economic focus, which includes the many World Cup projects, must be on those who were economically excluded in the past.

And he believe the fact football's governing body Fifa had awarded the tournament to South Africa "debunked the myth" that global commercial considerations - as opposed to local needs - were the prime motivators in awarding the event.

The World Cup organising committee at the planned new Johannesburg stadium
The organisers insist work on most of the new stadia is on target

"Fifa does not have to make billions from the event - the World Cup is strong enough to go to any sort of society" he says.

"Also, the revenues for Fifa are not generated by the commercial activities in the host nation, but because global brands based in Japan, the US, or Europe want to be associated with the World Cup name, and pay for the privilege."

Mr Jordaan says that 2010 organisers are operating with a World Cup budget of 3.2bn Rand ($457m; 222m) and the intention is to create jobs and encourage the formation of more small, medium and micro enterprises.

"We must create access to the economy for all our people," he explains. "Apartheid excluded 90% of the population from taking part in the daily economic life of our country.

"To strengthen the economy you must create access for all parts of society."

Delivering stadiums

Part of the way economic access can be improved is through creating jobs in infrastructure projects around the World Cup, including building stadiums as well as improving things like roads, and water, electricity and gas supplies.

"Hosting the World Cup places us within a time frame and a given budget. It installs discipline," says Mr Jordaan.

"It also invites the world media to oversee what we are doing and become project managers."

And those "project managers" have not always been kind to South Africa, with many of them still warning that it still may all end in tears.

I want to make clear that my role is to prepare a World Cup for 32 countries to play in, not only one for South Africa
Danny Jordaan, World Cup organising committee

"Every country that has hosted a World Cup has faced its own unique challenges - we are not different to any other nation," says Mr Jordaan, who has a wealth of experience in South African football administration.

"The gap in infrastructure is big with countries like Germany," he continues.

"So we have to pay more attention to our infrastructure, and each host city now has to report on their progress each month, and our technical team goes and visits the host cities on a regular basis.

"But I am confident we will deliver the stadiums."

Problem projects

However, Mr Jordaan admits that problems remained in Cape Town, where a new stadium has proved controversial, and in his home city of Port Elizabeth, where the target date might not be met.

"With two stadiums we have problems but with eight we have none - so we are 80% there," he counters.

And he remains positive on the crime issue, despite a former Austrian footballer being shot dead on a golf course outside Durban prior to Sunday's World Cup draw.

"There is a mismatch between perception and reality," insists Mr Jordaan.

Construction workers at the planned new stadium in Durban
The World Cup is as much about providing jobs as making money

"We have said again and again, when we have a major event, the people around the event are secure. You have to have a security plan whether you are staging the World Cup in Germany or South Africa."

He points out that South Africa has staged the rugby and cricket World Cups, as well as major athletics events successfully without incident.

Mr Jordaan adds: "Everyone at the World Cup draw was safe and secure. Of course we have concerns - but every country in the world has crime issues.

"Crime is opportunistic wherever it occurs, but we have the confidence our sporting event track record will stand the test of time."

'Never surrender'

Mr Jordaan drew a parallel between his days fighting apartheid, and the strange circumstances in which South Africa were denied the 2006 World Cup.

"The experience of having setbacks but continuing to struggle - it is part of the culture I come from.

"You have to never surrender and to hope again."

And he says that Nelson Mandela - who was a major force in South Africa finally securing the 2010 event - still retained his passion for football that first flourished while he was a prisoner on Robben Island.

Sepp Blatter at Soccerex 2007
FIFA boss Sepp Blatter is keeping an eagle eye on preparations

"As head of state he understood the importance of sport in building the country up into a new society."

"In South Africa we have had all the major events - Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup and now Football World Cup - driven by that inspiration."

However, Mr Jordaan says that there was now pressure on the South Africa national team, as a host country had not failed to qualify for the World Cup second round since 1954.

"The success of a World Cup depends on the performance of the home team," he says. "We are faced with a new challenge - we must make sure that we are not the first host in a long time to drop out in the first round.

"But I want to make clear that my role is to prepare a World Cup for 32 countries to play in, not only one for South Africa."

Fifa could shorten 2018 bid list
26 Nov 07 |  Internationals

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