Sunday, April 5, 2009

World Cup Investment Criticized as SA Continues to Struggle With AIDS

South Africa's nearly $2 billion investment in stadia is meeting some criticism, as some within the country and beyond argue that more money should be dedicated towards fighting the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. This article from New York University's student newspaper examines the criticism.

The country’s finance minister, Trevor Manuel, announced the country would allocate $1.9 billion dollars to the completion of 10 stadiums by the end of this year. He added that the government would also set up a grant to assist the host cities for this year’s Confederation Cup as well as the World Cup.

But opponents of the spending protest that some of South Africa’s problems deserve more funds than soccer. Health care professionals are leaving the country at rapid rates and the number of people affected by AIDS is rising. South Africa is among the most endangered nations in the world with regards to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Public Healthcare Issues said that in 2006, during the time of the last World Cup in Germany, HIV/AIDS was prevalent in 38.7 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds in South Africa.

...Robert Boland, a finance and economics professor in the sports management program at NYU, remains uncertain as well.

“It’s a big risk South Africa is taking. If the World Cup prospers, there is adequate possibility that the economy will improve and in turn bring in outside money for health care,” Boland said. “But it just might not work; they may never have the proper infrastructure to change the government’s inefficiency, the country’s labor problems, and the private hospital system.”

Funding for 2010 World Cup draws criticism in S. Africa
Washington Square News
March 29, 2009