Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sports and Economic Development: Assumptions and Potential

This piece from Pitch Invasion looks at the relationship between sports and economic development, the off-target assumptions linked with Africa's first World Cup, and the power of good intentions in developing sports-related entrepreneurship.

Of course these organizations do not only care about soccer, nor only about Africa (the International Platform on Sport and Development lists around 200 organizations ranging from the “Afghan Amputee Bicyclists for Rehabilitation And Recreation” to the “Zambian Chess Foundation”). But the global popularity of soccer combined with the unfortunate image of Africa as the continent most in need of “development work” makes for a potent combination. And while the sports and development endeavor is founded on an alluring logic and is full of good intentions, it also turns out to be much more complicated—and interesting—that it first appears.

Soccer for Good? Sports and Development in Concept and in Africa
Pitch Invasion
January 25, 2010

Two New Stadia Pass Muster

Brand new stadia in Cape Town and Polokwane have opened, and have successfully passed their first tests of readiness.

The Cape Town Stadium hosted a local derby between Santos and Ajax Cape Town while the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane held an-all day tournament and both stadiums passed the first test of their readiness for the big event in June.

The Peter Mokaba Stadium is one of the five new stadiums that were built up from the dust. It will host four group stage matches including a much anticipated clash between France and Mexico. On Saturday, the stadium held just one less match than it would in the entire World Cup, with no complications.

World Cup venues pass first test
January 24, 2010

Richards Bay Pins World Cup Hopes on Practice Stadium

Residents and officials in Richards Bay are hopeful that construction of a 4,000 seat stadium will be complete in time to lure one of the 2010 World Cup competitor nations out to the city as its home base. But locals worry that the stadium will not be complete in time.

[Local uThungulu District 2010 Organiser, Danie] Lubbe warned that all the enthusiasm generated by the anticipated influx of tourists would be nullified if the outstanding funding needed to complete the local stadium was not forthcoming before the 3 February cut-off date. ‘We still require R8.5-million to complete the phase that will make us 2010-compliant. ‘The bulk of this, R7.9-million, is for the installation of the floodlights, while the balance is for equipment. ‘If the money is not here by 3 February, construction will be called off and we can forget any thoughts of being an active part of the World Cup,’ said Lubbe.

Bay eyed for 2010 home base
Zululand Observer

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Johannesburg Beautifies Landscapes

25 sites in Johannesburg have been landscaped through a program aiming to beautify the city ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

Designed by landscaper Jan du Plessis, the roadside gardens are made up of various pebbles and low-maintenance plants such as succulents and aloes. In all, 25 sites across Joburg have been included in the beautification upgrades, a public-private partnership between the City and ADreach, the outdoor media company.

These roadside gardens were designed with the aim of welcoming tourists through impressive gateways, which reflect a clean and successful 21st century, noted Jacqui Khourie, the public relations officer for ADreach.

Joburg landscapes ahead of soccer World Cup
Independent Online
January 20, 2010

No Guaranteed Economic Boom for Small Businesses

Small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) could see an economic benefit from the World Cup, but officials are warning that a windfall is not a guarantee.

While 86 percent of SMME owners believed that the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup would be positive for the country, only 45 percent believed that they would benefit from the event, the SME Survey 2009 has found.

"FIFA is known for its zealous protection of the rights of its sponsors to do business in zones surrounding match locations and therefore, to a large extent, works to exclude the participation of 'outside' organisations," survey researcher Arthur Goldstuck said.

He added that as sponsorships were far beyond the means of any SMMEs, it rendered direct benefit to these business owners "practically impossible", a fact these business owners were well aware of.

Post-World Cup boom
January 20, 2010

World Cup Teams Must Decide Home Bases By End of Month

With few days remaining before the January 31 deadline, host cities like Tshwane are hopeful that teams will select their accommodations and training facilities ahead of the World Cup.

The City of Tshwane has already approved a total of seven base camp facilities. One such facility is the High Performance Centre in Hatfield, attached to the University of Pretoria, which Argentina inspected on Monday as their potential base camp.

Another one is the Southdown's College used by Italy during the FIFA Confederations Cup last year. HM Pitje Stadium in Mamelodi, Caledonian Stadium, Pilditch Stadium, Laudium Stadium and Eersterus Sport Stadium are the other five sports facilities that can be used by teams wishing to stay in Tshwane.

Deadline looms for 2010 base camp choices
January 20, 2010

Media Warned Over FIFA Press Agreement

Media representatives are cautioning international journalists about signing any agreements with sports organizations about coverage of their events. The warning is aimed directly at journalists seeking press credentials to cover the 2010 World Cup.

The South African Media Interest Group, made up of members of the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and industry body Print Media SA, has raised its concerns through the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) - a body representing news associations and agencies worldwide - about the terms and conditions imposed by World Cup owner Fifa for coverage of this year's event. They believe these restrict media freedom.

Larry Kilman, WAN's director of communications and public affairs, said sport organisers were increasingly trying to control content to ensure they received maximum benefit. WAN started dealing with the issue in 2005 after members complained about restrictions around sporting events, and has been negotiating with Fifa over relaxation of some of the terms since 2006.

Media Warned to Tread Warily Around Fifa 2010 Reporting Rules
Business Day
Jnauary 19, 2010

'Stab-Proof' Vest Angers Local Officials

A private company is offering what it calls "stab-proof" vests to tourists and spectators at the World Cup. The company claims the idea is to improve safety, but locals have blasted the product as hyping security fears in the name of profit.

Football fan Sascha Cutura, the founder of Protektorvest, says he hit on the idea after reading a story about how the German team's World Cup team security consultants had advised players and support staff to wear bullet proof vests when they ventured out of their hotel.

"This got me thinking, and I came up with a solution for people who feel they need extra protection," Cutura said in an email interview.

South Africa: Stab Proof Vests for World Cup Fans
West Cape News
January 19, 2010

Zimbabwe Plans $70 Million in Tourism Marketing Around World Cup

Zimbabwe is hoping to benefit from South Africa's World Cup -- and they're making a big investment to make sure they do. The country's tourism minister is seeking a $70-million bankroll to fund marketing and tourism-related efforts to draw people across the border from South Africa.

"We have received a budget proposal of $70-million from various ministries and we have asked them to come up with projects that can be completed around March," Mzembi said.

Five million dollars is earmarked for "an extensive media campaign to advertise our tourist facilities to the outside world" and one million dollars to set up fun parks for visitors.

Zim angling to score from World Cup
Independent Online
January 19, 2010

LOC Accuses Tourism Competitors of Souring SA's Image

Local Organizing Committee Chairman Irvin Khoza is accusing tourism competitors of spreading harsh rumors about safety concerns in South Africa.

"South Africans must consistently and insistently communicate the message with confidence, because we are sure about what we are doing."

He claimed the debate was being fuelled by countries who had a large share of the tourism market.

'Competitor's' questioning SA's 2010 safety
Independent Online
January 19, 2010

Durban Stadium Gets New Attraction

The design of the new Moses Mahbida Stadium in Durban has garnered a lot of attention over the past few months. Its striking arch over the field and the funicular cable car that rides on it have thrust the stadium into the international spotlight.

Now there's a new addition: a bungee swing will soon open at the top of the arch.

The swing will be suspended from the top of the arch and people will be able to swing from the fourth level on one side of the stadium across to the other.

The city's municipal manager, Michael Sutcliffe, said the swing was currently being tested and would "open for business" within a week.

Durban makes big leap in World Cup plans
Independent Online
January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Youth Group Calls for Nelson Mandela Bay World Cup Directorate to Resign

A youth organization in Nelson Mandela Bay has called for the city's World Cup preparation chief to resign over what the group calls a "failure" in organization.

Speaking at a press conference held at the City Hall, South African Youth Council (SAYC) chairman Sicelo Mleve said Nelson Mandela Bay residents were still in the dark as to what would happen in the city during the Fifa World Cup.

Youth call for 2010 Bay directorate’s heads
The Herald
January 18, 2010

Ticket Sales Simplified in South Africa

In an effort to boost local sales of World Cup match tickets, organizers have simplified the ticket buying process in South Africa.

From April tickets will be available to purchase for cash as well as via the internet or written forms in banks.

Supporters in host nation South Africa are used to buying seats on the day of a match rather than in advance.

Organisers simplify World Cup 2010 ticket sales
January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Minibus and Taxi Violence in Western Cape Spurs Action

Officials in the Western Cape are on the offensive about recent attacks by taxi and minibus drivers.

[Official Robin Carlisle] was outlining a new policy to deal with the local taxi industry, following recent violence in the Retreat/Steenberg/Vrygrond area. A driver was shot and killed in Retreat. In Steenberg a driver and his passengers were shot and wounded.

Carlisle further vowed to shut down operations in areas where violence took place, or was threatened.

W Cape's Carlisle vows taxi crackdown
Independent Online
January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Community Soccer Fields Spreading into Underprivileged Areas

A nonprofit group in South Africa is moving ahead with its plans to build community soccer fields in underprivileged areas. Officials say 15 "dream fields" will be completed by the World Cup.

“We are just finishing our ninth and tenth [soccer] fields at the moment. Our total invest- ments in disadvantaged communities will be about R13,5-million at the end of 2009,” Dreamfields founder and CEO John Perlman, a well-known media personality, tells Engineering News exclusively.

He adds that, this year, the organisation will be building two more fields in the Bushbuck Ridge area and will be returning to its very first field in Tshisahulu, in Venda, to turf it.

“We hope to reach the target of 15 fields before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”

Football charity aims to build 15 ‘dream fields’ before World Cup kick-off
Engineering News
January 15, 2010

Angola Attacks Have Little Impact on SA Tourism

Despite the recent attack on the Togo national team when they were in Angola for the Africa Cup of Nations, South African organizers are calming nerves as the country prepares to play international host during the World Cup. Tour operators say that the violence has not affected interest in visiting the country.

International tour operators confirmed however that there is still huge interest in the World Cup.

Juan Carlos, the co-owner of Fifa-accredited Pegazus Sport Tours in Spain, said while there had been some concern after the Angola attack, confidence remained high.

SA passes 2010 test
Independent Online
January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Human Trafficking Takes Toll in South Africa

The lure of jobs related to the World Cup has brought many people to South Africa, and a lot of human trafficking. People are being smuggled into the country to work at lower wages, drying up jobs stocks for locals.

A source said business has been booming since 2004, adding every month they bring at least 50, 70 and sometimes 100 people, which makes it close to 1200 people each year, at a price ranging from US$2000 (about R15 000) to US$6000 (about R44 500), depending on the country of departure.

"Many women are now registering more than men because they believe they can offer their services to tourists and soccer fans during the World Cup."

But victims get the shock of their lives when they find out that they are there are no jobs, and left to fend for themselves, and sometimes being forced into sex slavery and prostitution, arranged marriages, 419 scams and drug pushing.

Africa: 2010 Fifa World Cup Boosts Continent's Human Trafficking
January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

10% of South Africa Online

The number of Internet users in South Africa has grown past 5 million, according to a recent study. This represents 10% of the population.

This is the key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2010 study, conducted by World Wide Worx and jointly sponsored by Cisco, released this morning, Thursday, 14 Jan 2010.

The headline data shows that the Internet user base grew by 15% last year, from 4,6 million to 5,3 million, and is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2010.

South Africa: Internet Growth Accelerates
January 14, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Road Work and Traffic Expected Until Late April in Cape Town

Traffic-snarling roadwork throughout Cape Town and on many of its most crucial arterials is expected to continue until late April or even early May.

Speaking at a briefing this morning ahead of Friday's World Cup final draw, [Mayor Dan] Plato appealed to Cape Town drivers to be patient and promised that the work was ahead of schedule.

...Plato said the roadworks chaos would probably end towards the end of April or early in May, when construction work at crucial points, such as the Koeberg Interchange and the integrated rapid transport lanes on Otto du Plessis Drive, should be completed.

Cape Town's traffic headache
Independent Online
December 1, 2009

Australian Football Chief Stumps for Asian World Cup

Arguing that a World Cup hosted in Asia during either 2018 or 2022 would generate the highest revenue for FIFA, Australian Football Federation Chairman Frank Lowry is pushing hard to bring the World Cup back to the Asian region for its second hosting duty.

Lowy has long championed the cause for the prestigious tournament to be held in Australia, while the likes of South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Qatar have all expressed a desire to host the event.

Asia faces competition from Europe and North America but Lowy believes the region's rapid economic growth makes it an ideal candidate.

Australia chief backs Asia World Cup bids
Novembr 24, 2009

The Four First-Round-And-Beyond Cities

The four other host cities in South Africa will be hosting matches during and after the first round. This follow-up post gives a brief profile of each city.

There will be an unusual concentration of World Cup matches in Gauteng [Greater Johannesburg], the economic heartland of South Africa and part of the highest-altitude area, where most teams are also expected to establish their training camps in order to acclimatise.

This is also the area with the worst record of violent crime in South Africa, one of the biggest concerns of tournament organisers.

Second round venues for 2010 World Cup
Independent Online
November 30, 2009

The Five First-Round Cities

This post takes a look at the five hot cities hosting only first-round matches during the World Cup.

Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Rustenburg are all at high altitude. The first three could be bitterly cold at night during the tournament although Rustenburg has mild, sunny, southern hemisphere winters. Nelspruit is in the hot, dry lowveldt and should be comfortable.

Most of the World Cup managers are thought to be planning training camps around Pretoria, Rustenburg, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg to prepare their players for the thinner air.

First round venues for 2010 World Cup
Independent Online
November 30, 2009

Friday, January 8, 2010

Prices Jump for Flights During World Cup

Airline prices spike ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

Sue Botes, commercial manager of British Airways in SA, said many flights, particularly near the start and end of the tournament, were sold out and only seats in the higher category were available.

South Africa: Prices Spike in Scramble for World Cup Flight Tickets
Business Day
November 27, 2009

Host Cities to Host Fan Parks

Fan viewing parks will be set up in each of the nine host cities during the World Cup, according to the Local Organizing Committee.

Public viewing areas to broaden the reach of the 2010 Fifa World Cup are going to be set up in the nine host cities and access is "mahala", Local Organising Committee chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said on Monday.

'Mahala' fan parks for World Cup
Independent Online
November 23, 2009

Typo Puts Stadium Up for Lease at 1 Rand Per Year

Two mistakes in the lease agreement for the City of Cape Town's new World Cup stadium have reduced its price from 100,000 Rand to 1 Rand. City officials say the mistake is immaterial.

The error was repeated twice - in digits and words - in the lease agreement.

But the city says the mistake is nothing to worry about, because the lease agreement obliges the operator to pay the greater amount of either the base rental of R1 or 30 percent of the operator's profit before tax.

The R1 stadium bungle
Cape Argus
November 24, 2009

Fast-Track Courts to Resolve Tourist-Related Crime Issues

In anticipation of a high incidence of crimes committed against tourists during the World Cup, the South African government is preparing to fast-track criminal hearings during the tournament to resolve issue before tourist leave the country.

A total of 54 courts will operate in the nine World Cup host cities.

The justice ministry says if any foreigners are involved in crimes, as victims or perpetrators, their cases will receive priority.

South Africa to fast-track World Cup crime hearings
November 23. 2009

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Challenges Remain As World Cup Nears

Despite high hopes for a good return on its investment, many challenges face South Africa as it enters the final months before hosting the 2010 World Cup.

The overall £800m in capital investment from public funds has been sold as a stimulus that will boost the economy by 55.7bn rand (£4.45bn), create 415,400 new jobs and leave a legacy in everything from transport infrastructure to the strength of the domestic league. More broadly, Fifa also claims it will leave a footballing legacy for the whole continent, promising new pitches for every country and 20 new "Football for Hope" centres to house social projects. Others may question whether the $9m (£5.36m) promised for the scheme amounts to much when placed alongside the projected $3.2bn in sponsorship, marketing, TV and hospitality revenues the 2010 World Cup will deliver.

South Africa 2010: the challenges still facing the World Cup hosts
November 18, 2009

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Brief History of the World Cup

This article offers a concise history of the World Cup, and its path to South Africa.

In June 2010 the World Cup will finally arrive in Africa, after 80 years of travelling between America, Europe and, in 2002, Asia.

Now that Africa has finally been chosen to stage the finals, the tournament - so long the property of Europeans and South Americans - can properly be called the World Cup.

World Cup finally comes to Africa
Independent Online
November 25, 2009

Cruise Liners to House World Cup Fans

With hotel accommodations expected to be tightly packed, city and tourism officials are expecting to use cruise ships as floating hotels during the World Cup.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said Portugal, hosts of the 2004 European championship, had made successful use of cruise ships.

"They are going to be quite important especially for 2010 both as people movers and even as accommodation," Ndebele told Reuters on Wednesday during a visit to London.

SA to house World Cup fans in cruise liners
Mail and Guardian
November 25, 2009

Crafty Baboons a New World Cup Concern

Roving bands of mischievous baboons are being cited as a new concern for city officials when tourists descend on South Africa for the World Cup.

Officials in Cape Town, the country's top tourist destination, are trying to control the increasingly aggressive animals. On Tuesday 29 baboons raided four cars outside Simon's Town, a coastal neighbourhood. A baboon dubbed Fred, the leader of the group, opened unlocked doors and jumped through a window to search for food. He ransacked a bag in one car as a couple panicked over their passports. Others climbed on to car roofs looking for ways inside. Many people who stopped to watch had their own cars broken into by baboons.

"We spend the whole day basically rescuing tourists," said Mark Duffels, a volunteer who monitors the animals.

South Africa's marauding baboons add to World Cup worries
November 25, 2009

Medical Capacity During World Cup a Concern for Health Officials

Health officials are warning that the possibility of disaster is very high during the World Cup, mainly due to the country's low amount of medical workers.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the World Conference on Disasters and Emergency Medicine on Tuesday, Dr Wayne Smith, the head of the Western Cape's 2010 health planning unit, said it was "dangerous" for authorities to be over-confident in South Africa's medical ability to deal with disasters simply because the country hosted the Rugby and Cricket World Cups without incident.

'Be prepared for any World Cup disaster'
Cape Argus
November 25, 2009

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Chinese Stadia of Angola

This post from Pitch Invasion looks at Angola, the host of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, and how the country's economic situation relates to the development of its Chinese-funded and -built stadia.

The situation in Angola does raise interesting questions about when and how a developing country should spend money on sports. This question seems particularly acute considering the way China tends to go about building the African stadiums—by using Chinese contractors and Chinese workers. So where South Africa has tried to partially justify the massive expenditures it is making for World Cup stadiums by arguing that the money offers employment to local workers (of course, the South African worker’s strikes confirm this is not always a clean process either), Angola is just making sure the stadiums get built.

Building Stadiums: Angola, China, and the African Cup of Nations
Pitch Invasion
November 16, 2009

Prostitution Clean-Up Has Some Worried About Health During World Cup

Broad cleanup efforts targeting the sex worker industry in South Africa have garnered the support of family and religious groups, but have some health officials and researchers worried about the lack of oversight and expected boost in prostitution during the World Cup.

In September, Cape Town set up a vice squad tasked with "cleaning up" the city's brothels and prostitutes - a move applauded by religious and family groups.

"There is quite a sense of religious and sexual moralism on the subject that does not help in term of public health and human rights," said Marlise Richter, a researcher who collaborates with sex worker advocacy groups.

"Making sex work more invisible makes it harder for sex workers to negotiate safer sex, and it will have greater influence on HIV prevalence."

South Africa already has the world's biggest HIV caseload, with 5,7 million of its 48 million people infected. An estimated 45 percent of prostitutes have the disease, according to a 1998 study.

Prostitutes fear 2010 clean-up
Independent Online
November 20, 2009

The World Cup's Limited Benefit for South Africa

This article from the Independent Online offers a scathing analysis of the tauted and oversold benefits of the World Cup for South Africa, arguing that only a small faction of the country's elite will see any true positive impact.

The Cup is about a great deal more than sport, the crowds simply part of the backdrop - the cost of their tickets is almost irrelevant. But the political dividends for the ANC are significant and the nation's new elite will be disporting itself in front of the world's cameras.

The rest of the country will be enjoying a long holiday and the brief opportunity to forget the enormous burden of socio-economic problems.

There is no evidence from previous mega-events, or South Africa's current circumstances, that the World Cup will deliver any major benefit. Politicians traditionally lie about the projected economic and social outcomes of such events in order to requisition the resources required for their own political ends.

The best guess is a pitiful 50 000 jobs and growth of 0.94 percent of gross domestic product. The World Cup was never intended for the benefit of local residents.

2010 a new form of colonialism
Independent Online
November 18, 2009

Cruise Ships Flock to South Africa for World Cup

As a new cruise ship prepares to begin operations out of Durban ahead of the World Cup, South Africa is preparing to play host to a number of international cruise ships during the tournament.

However, the MSC Sinfonia will not be the only high profile cruise ship to make its maiden voyage to Durban. Next year in March the uber-luxurious Queen Mary 2 - which is almost three times the size of the Sinfonia will call in Durban for the first time.

In addition, the big cruising news for the 2010 Fifa World Cup is that German promoter ONE OCEAN CLUB will bring two cruise ships from Holland America Cruise Lines - the MS Noordam and MS Westerdam - to operate as floating hotels for the duration of the tournament out of Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Cruise ship bonanza for SA
The Mercury
November 18, 2009

Poor Roads and Aging Infrastructure Hurting Africa's Economy

The state of infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa is having a detrimental effect on the continent's economy, accprding to a new report.

The state of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa - its electricity, water, roads, and information and communications technology (ICT) - also reduces business productivity by as much as 40 per cent.

Africa's Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation finds that Africa has the weakest infrastructure in the world but, ironically, Africans in some countries pay twice as much for basic services as people elsewhere.

The study, which was conducted in 24 African countries by a partnership of institutions - including the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, and the World Bank - is one of the most detailed one ever undertaken on the continent.

Africa: Report - Bad Roads Slow Continent's Growth to a Crawl
The East African
November 16, 2009