Friday, July 23, 2010

Local Hands Building London's Olympic Park?

This video from the BBC looks at whether early promises to hire locals to build London's Olympic Park have been kept.

Organisers say they've been true to their word with schemes to train local people.

However, the feeling among some residents in east London is that the jobs just haven't materialised.

Has 2012 delivered on local Olympic jobs?
July 22, 2010

Citywide Ping Pong Part of London's Olympic Warm-Up

In the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics, the city is hoping to inspire its people into a healthier existence by placing 100 ping pong tables throughout the city for free use.

It's all to do with fun and fitness. London is hosting the Olympics in 2012 and wants people to get in shape. Ping pong is an easy way to start. The intention is to get a million people playing more sport by 2012. Ping pong is a perfect entree: Sport England's latest Active People Survey indicated a 9,900-person increase in adults who reported playing table tennis at least once a week.

Play Ping Pong Across London
July 23, 2010

East End a Bright Side of Dark London Olympics

The Economist rips into London's plans for the 2012 Olympics, which it has been against from the get-go. But despite the events being what the paper sees as wasteful and expensive, there is some potential for a positive: the regeneration of London's East End.

Its task is to create a place where people will want to live, work and play in a part of town that people have been eager to escape, where jobs have been hard to come by and where welcoming, wide, green spaces are too rare. There are hopeful precedents in the new towns built after the second world war, the garden cities of a century ago and in the private estates built in west London in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are voices calling for much more social housing in the Olympic Park. It is true that London is short of homes for poor people. But concentrated social housing goes hand in hand with joblessness and enduring poverty: too much of the first will condemn the area to too much of the second and third. To imitate the success of the new towns and garden cities, and to generate jobs and encourage prosperity, the park will need a mix of homes as well as a good swathe of greenery. Get this right, and the games might almost be worthwhile.

Field of dreams
The Economist
July 22, 2010

$12 Billion Boost

The South African government has announced that hosting the World Cup has boosted the country's economy by about 93 billion Rand (~$12 billion USD).

The South African government pumped R30 billion into transport and telecommunications infrastructure and 10 stadiums, which created 66 000 new construction jobs and saw R7.4bn paid over in wages, with R2.2bn going to low-income households.

Upgrading trains and roads took care of R13bn, while R20bn was spent on airports development and R3.5bn on renovations at ports of entry. Another R1.5bn was spent on broadcast technology and R1.3bn on safety and security, including the deployment of 40 000 extra police.

Maseko rejected predictions that World Cup stadiums would become white elephants in the wake of the tournament. "During the bidding process all host cities were made to submit plans about how the stadiums would be used after the tournament," he said.

World Cup's R93bn boost for SA
Pretoria News
July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Japan's 2018/2022 Bid Called 'Balanced'

A group of FIFA inspectors currently traveling around the World have given Japan's bid for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup a positive review.

The group of inspectors from football's governing body made the comments as they wrapped up a four-day visit to Japan, the first leg of their two-month tour of nine candidates vying to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

"We must say that the bid is a very balanced project, mixing football traditions, modern stadiums plus new technology with eco projects and integration with the world," said the team's leader, Harold Mayne-Nicholls.

Japan World Cup bid 'very balanced', says FIFA
AFP via Asiaone News
July 22, 2010

China's 2026 World Cup Hopes Rely on Asian Failure in 2022

China's hopes to host the 2026 World Cup depends firstly on the outcome of the international race to host the 2022 World Cup. Four nations from the same geographical region are in the running for 2022, and should one of them win, FIFA's continental rotation rule would disqualify another Asian region host for the 2026 tournament.

Wei Di, the head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), returned from South Africa last week and said he was keen to bring international soccer’s showpiece event to the world’s most populous country for the first time.

South Korea, Australia, Qatar and Japan have, however, already expressed their intention to bid for 2022 and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Bin Hammam said his priority was the success of one of those.

China World Cup bid relies on failure of other Asian bids
Reuters via Taipei Times
July 22, 2010

Officials Still Unsure About Sao Paulo Stadium Pick for 2014

Which of the city's stadia will play host during the 2014 World Cup is still in question, as upgrades to the Morumbi Stadium are still progressing too slowly for officials to get behind it. The city has its eyes on hosting the opening match, but capacities at local stadia -- even those under renovation -- may not be enough to accommodate the event's requirements.

City officials and members of the World Cup organizing committee met Wednesday but failed to come up with a stadium proposal to send to FIFA, although they insist the goal is for the city to host the competition's opening match.

No decision yet on Sao Paulo stadium for 2014 WCup
Associate Press
July 21, 2010

Russia's Corruption Builds $7.8 Billion Road

Corrupt practices in Russia have greatly ballooned the costs of simple road projects ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to a recent article from the Russian edition of Esquire magazine.

Corruption in Russia has made road-building so expensive that the same stretches of highway could be coated in an eight-inch thick layer of foie gras for the same price, a study has found.

The decision to publish the bizarre calculation in the Russian edition of Esquire magazine was designed to embarrass the Kremlin, which has failed to tackle endemic corruption in the industry. The magazine used one road, being built for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the southern town of Sochi, as an example. The price tag for the 50-kilo-metre long road is $7.8 billion Cdn, more than the entire costs of the Vancouver Olympics including the upgrades to the Sea to Sky Highway.

Read more:

One road in Sochi costs $7.8 billion due to corruption
Daily Telegraph via The Vancouver Sun
July 22, 2010

Sochi Road-Rail Project Quickens Pace

Work is being expedited in Russia to complete a combined rail and road link to improve connectivity to remote host city Sochi.

Russian Railways is speeding up construction of the main infrastructure project for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi – the combined road and rail route linking Adler and the Alpika-Service mountain resort.

In line with requirements set down by the International Olympic Committee, Russian Railways’ contractors are carrying out tunneling work at six tunnel complexes on the mountain route. To date, servicing-evacuation tunnels have been created at complex No. 1, complex No. 5, and rail tunnel No. 2. Work on the other tunnels is proceeding on schedule.

$1.34 bln invested in combined road for Olympics during first half of year
July 21, 2010

Stadium Competition in Sao Paulo Ahead of 2014 World Cup

Officials representing Sao Paulo's Palmeiras soccer club have officially submitted their documentation to be considered as a host pitch during the 2014 World Cup.

The Arena Palestra is under construction and is expected to be ready by the end of 2011. Corinthians' Pacaembu stadium needs renovation that would cost nearly 200,000 U.S. dollars and Morumbi has been repeatedly criticized by FIFA for fan visibility problems and accessibility.

Palmeiras makes official bid to host 2014 World Cup games
Global Times
July 21, 2010

London 2012 A Long-Term Impact on City's East End?

This piece wonders whether the UK's £8-billion investment in London's 2012 Summer Olympics will have the intended effect of transforming the city's East End into a vibrant part of the metropolis.

While parts of East London have been transformed — as any visitor to the financial centre, Canary Warf or the 02 Concert Arena will testify — large parts remain huge pockets of poverty. Newham, where around 60 per cent of Olympic events will take place, is among the poorest — and most ethnically diverse — boroughs in the UK, according to the government indices of multiple deprivation, with high rates of joblessness, homelessness, child poverty and infant mortality. Around 15 per cent of adults lack employment, according to the Trust for London charity, while the rate of infant mortality stands at 7 in 1,000.

Can the Olympics turn East London to prosperity?
Business Line
July 20, 2010

Questioning the Economic Wisdom of the U.S. World Cup Bid

The New York Times's Freakonomics blog asks whether it's really a good idea for the U.S. to try to host another World Cup, especially given the fact that the event is not a money-maker for the host.

The truth, however, is that most such events don’t provide much economic stimulus, and often turn out to be money losers. This isn’t to say that cities or countries shouldn’t try to host these events — but, as the Soccernomics authors argue, they should at least realize that what they’re doing is paying for the right to host a big party. The same is generally true for public funding of new sports arenas, as the economist Dennis Coates made clear not long ago.

Should the U.S. Really Try to Host Another World Cup?
The New York Times
July 19, 2010

Brazilian Cities Allowed Higher Debt Ahead of 2014 World Cup

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has announced that his government will invest more than $3.5 billion in port upgrades ahead of the 2014 World Cup, and that the country's 12 host cities will be allowed to rack up higher levels of debt to make sure they are prepared.

During the ceremony to launch the decree, the president announced that 3.545 billion will be allocated to upgrade airports and ports in the twelve cities hosting the soccer tournament in 2014.

"Things are going very quickly," said Lula, countering criticism of his government for delays in works, which he attributed to the "folly" of people who have no patience with the ritual required to put projects into practice.

Brazil tighten steps for 2014 World Cup, 2016 Olympics
People's Daily Online
July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nelspruit Worries About Future of its World Cup Stadium

Concerns are growing in Nelspruit that the $183 million stadium the province built for the 2010 World Cup (of which it hosted 4 matches) will be able to find a permanent user or sustainable business model.

“No team has yet been approached to make the stadium its home base, and this matter will be dealt with when the business model is finalised,” said interim manager for the stadium, Roelf Kotze, on Monday.

...Kotze said the pitch is suitable for soccer and rugby matches and has the same dimensions as the pitch at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, where the Super 14 Final Rugby Match was played recently. Kotze said organisers of other events had, however, shown interest in using the stadium.

Mbombela white elephant?
Sport 24
July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lobbyists' Potentially Corrupt Practices for Australia's 2022 World Cup Bid

The Age provides some background on the potentially corrupt practices of two lobbyist who are working with Australia on the country's bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Two controversial European lobbyists hired to help bring the soccer World Cup to Australia stand to receive up to $11.37 million in fees and bonuses - one-quarter of the taxpayer-funded bid - according to secret Football Federation Australia files.

The files include a spreadsheet that suggests the federal government was not told specific details about how taxpayers' money was to be spent on the lobbyists and grants to overseas football bodies headed by powerful FIFA officials.

World Cup money trail: lobbyists to make millions
The Age
June 30, 2010

Potential Corruption in Australia's 2022 World Cup Bid

Another detailed post from Pitch Invasion looking into the past of one of the consultants working with Australia on the country's bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Radmann’s links to the global game and the World Cup go back decades, and reach to the highest levels of the sport.

In 2000, Radmann was selected by Franz Beckenbauer to play a key role on the Organising Committee for the 2006 World Cup to be held in Germany, touted as a “marketing and PR expert”. He had previously been the co-ordinator of Germany’s successful World Cup bid, one tainted by allegations of bribes paid to FIFA officials to secure the vote.

Australia’s 2022 World Cup Bid and Fedor Radmann: Buying FIFA Connections
Pitch Invasion
July 4, 2010

Suspicious Activities Mar Australia's 2022 World Cup Bid

This detailed post from Pitch Invasion looks at one of two shady characters working behind the scenes on Australia's bid to host the 2022 World Cup, and the light that shines on FIFA's bidding process.

A couple of days ago, we commented on the revelations coming out in the Australian press about the suspect manner in which their World Cup bid was being made. That piece was on how Australia’s governing body, Football Federation Australia (FFA), and its bid team were taking advantage of FIFA’s lax and inadequate rules on gifts to FIFA Executive Committee members (the 24 of whom will decide on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December).

Today, we will look at another of the revelations to have come out in Australia’s press that once again affirms the entire process of World Cup bidding is all about who you can buy to get the tournament.

Sadly, it means paying $11.37 million (AUS) to two of world soccer’s least pleasant leeches, Peter Hargitay and Fedor Radmann.

Paying Peter Hargitay: The Price Of A World Cup Bid
Pitch Invasion
July 1, 2010

Zimbabwe Sets Sights on South Africa's 2020 Olympics Bid

Officials in Zimbabwe look at the prospective bid from South Africa to host the 2020 Olympics as another opportunity to cash in on its neighbor's international attention -- an opportunity some say the country didn't take advantage of during the 2010 World Cup.

Zimbabwe – which is in an ideal geographical position to benefit from South Africa’s hosting of the Olympic Games – failed to capitalise on the just ended World Cup in a development that saw the country losing out on the financial benefits that result in being directly associated with football’s premier event.

Critics say Zimbabwe government failed to aggressively market the country’s tourist attractions like the Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe Ruins and that this resulted in very little people visiting the country during the tournament.

SA Olympic bid may benefit Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean
July 16, 2010

South Africa Tourism Hike Expected After Cup

Tourism experts expect international tourism to South Africa to pick up as a result of the 2010 World Cup.

Gillian Saunders, director of Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions, said careful targeting could increase the number of overseas visitors to SA by 1.2million over the next five years, instead of the current 2.4million.

Annually, about 9.9million tourists visit SA, of which 7.5million are from the rest of the continent. Overseas visitors mainly come from the UK, US, France and Germany, but they could now also be coming from non-traditional markets like Brazil and China, she said.

World Cup success can open new tourism doors for SA
The Times
July 18, 2010

A Peek at Sochi

Skiing magazine First Tracks!! talks with United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner about his recent visit to Sochi, Russia, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Q: What's new in Sochi?

Bodesteiner: When I went there two years ago, it was a really small little mountain town up a pretty narrow mountain valley. I swear there must have been about 800 people living there with old houses and without any kind of resort at all up there. Now, going back, you can see it's going to be a huge transformation. There's tons of construction going on right now everywhere you go with thousands of workers and trucks. They're building a world class ski resort which is going to have great skiing. The mountains are all being connected by peak to peak gondolas on two sides of the valley. Down along the river they're doing great development of about two dozen high-end hotels. That's going to basically be the heartbeat of the Olympics because along the river corridor are the mountain venues up at the top of the ski area, then the resort village and down at the bottom of the river valley in Sochi are the ice arenas. They're actually at the end of Sochi, about an hour from downtown in normal traffic. So really I think the action is going to be up in skiing and snowboarding venue at Rosa Khutor.

Taking a First Look at Sochi
First Tracks!!
July 17, 2010

Gautrain Takes Taxis Business

Johannesburg's new regional rail system Guatrain has usurped much of the business of metered taxis and minibuses traveling the route between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton.

With their hopes of making a killing during the World Cup dashed, meter-taxi drivers now face the reality that the Gautrain has fundamentally changed travel for good on this route.

The Gautrain has transported 400 000 people since it launched last month, some of whom just wanted to experience this mode of transport.

Meter taxis charge up to R500 for a single trip on this route, while the journey costs R100 on the Gautrain.

Gautrain pushes taxis off profit track
Fin 24
July 18, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Johannesburg's World Cup in Numbers

This piece from Sport 24 offers a few facts and figures from Johannesburg's hosting of the World Cup.

- Eighty-eight informal traders were registered to provide food to staff and volunteers.

- A total of 1 042 160 people attended matches in Johannesburg.

- Of those, 479 517 used public transport.

Joburg Cup in numbers
Sport 24
July 15, 2010

Inside the Site of London's Olympics

This detailed piece from the Telegraph takes a look at the history, the infrastructure and the current state of the site of London's 2012 Olympic Games.

To the north of Stratford International station sit 3,000 brand-new, unoccupied apartment homes across 91 acres: the Olympic Village. To the south sits a shiny shopping centre, a new Westfield, or Eastfield perhaps, waiting to open next year. It abuts another station, Stratford Regional, on the southern tip of the site, which is being expanded to process 125,000 people a day. Both stations will, in two years’ time, disgorge these kinds of numbers on to this island for four weeks of partying in the summer of 2012 for both the Olympics and Paralympics, all at the British Government’s expense. It will cost about £9 billion, more than three times the original figure.

The island, like the homes and the shopping centre, is not yet open for business. The Olympic Park site is pregnant with cranes, diggers – and promise. The language of promise is written in hyperbole and coat-hook statistics on which any builder here will happily hang his hi-vis jacket: £5 billion worth of engineering contracts; 120 miles of electrical cabling buried in underground tunnels; 4,000 trees being planted; 350,000 plants; 2,000 newts relocated; a quarter of a million loaves of bread needed over two weeks. It will take a miracle of baking coordination.

London 2012: Kevin McCloud reports from inside the Olympic site
July 17, 2010

Student Organization Calls World Cup a Waste

The South African Students Congress (SASCO) is calling the 2010 World Cup a waste of money.

"Instead of wasting money on stadiums and other related luxurious infrastructure, we could have used the same money, energy, zeal and enthusiasm to provide water, electricity, houses and free education for millions of poor South Africans,' said Sasco president Mbulelo Mandlana in a statement.

Mandlana said apart from the pride and joy Sasco felt because the country hosted the event successfully, it was "ashamed that we spent billions of public funds on stadiums that will immediately turn into white elephants after the World Cup and whose maintenance will be costly for years to come".

Cup a waste of money: Sasco
Sport 24
July 14, 2010

Ownership Questions Threaten Future of London's Olympic Stadium

THe UK Government is reportedly stalling the handover of ownership of the 2012 Olympic Stadium in London to the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which is in charge of securing renters and users for the stadium after the 2012 Olympics end. BBC Olympics Correspondent Adrian Warner says this could cause business entities interested in operating the stadium after the Olympics to walk away.

The problem is that the last Government promised to hand over ownership of the Olympic Park to the OPLC, debt-free, so that it could do the financial deals to sell or rent out the venues to the private sector after 2012.

It's a pretty fundamental action to take. Would you be able to sell your house if you didn't have ownership of it or possess the deeds? No chance.

But the new coalition Government has now put that decision on ice, while the Treasury reviews financial decisions taken by Labour.

Delays will make 2012 'white elephant' fear a reality
July 6, 2010

Half of Joburg's World Cup Fans Used Public Transit

Roughly half of the people attending soccer matches in Johannesburg during the 2010 World Cup used public transit, according to officials. Much of that figure can be attributed to park-and-ride services set up on match days. The city's new Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system moved about 100,000 people, while the city's pre-existing Metrorail service transported about 118,000.

A total of 1 042 160 people attended the 15 matches in Johannesburg and of those, 479 517 used public transport.

More than 260 000 people used the park and ride system while just under 178 000 used the park and walk system.

Public transport was popular
Sport 24
July 15, 2010

China Eyes Bid for 2026 World Cup

Chinese officials have announced their interest in bidding to host the 2026 World Cup. This is the next World Cup that will be up for bids, with both the 2018 and 2022 Cups already deep in the bidding process.

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) would soon submit a request to the General Administration of Sports (GAS), the sports ministry, for approval to proceed with a formal bid, according to the CFA head Wei Di.

"We are so impressed by the great benefits the World Cup has brought to South Africa," Wei told the Beijing Youth Daily. "In South Africa, I saw how a World Cup could unite a country and improve its football."

China keen to bid for 2026 World Cup
July 16, 2010
A new rail line is being built in Russia that will connect to the airport in Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Russian Railways is building a rail line from Adler to Sochi Airport. The new intermodal line will ensure comfortable high-speed transport for guests and participants at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The estimated capacity of the line will be more than 86,000 people per day, or up to 60% of all air passengers travelling to the Olympics. The line is scheduled to be launched in 2012.

Rail line from Adler to Sochi Airport to open in 2012
July 16, 2010

Redirecting World Cup Profits to Help Underprivileged Hosts

This column from the Huffington Post looks at the continued poverty issues facing South Africa, and offers some ideas about how FIFA can redirect some of its efforts -- and revenues -- to help counteract social ills during the next World Cup in similarly developing and poverty-stricken Brazil.

with international sporting events trending towards the developing world, both host countries and governing bodies need rethink the bidding system. Currently, it awards games to those building the most luxurious stadiums. Instead, investment needs to go to public transport systems that benefit local populations and infrastructure projects with long-term benefit.

The 2014 World Cup in cities across Brazil with the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could start this trend. Like South Africa, Brazil is a large and growing economy. But its cities are also ringed by sprawling slums, high crime rates and poverty.

Willing the Rich to Share in the World Cup Profits
The Huffington Post
July 16, 2010

Rio Rebounds

Ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is seeing increased attention from international investors, especially in the shipbuilding, oil and steel industries.

The governor, Sergio Cabral, forecasts the state of Rio will need as much as $US90 billion ($102 billion) in investment until 2013 for the expansion of the shipbuilding, iron, steel and nuclear power industries, led by projects from the billionaire Eike Batista.

Oil producers and mining companies helped double state exports in the first five months of the year, a growth rate three times faster than the nation as a whole.

''It's in the midst of a major transformation,'' said Mr Palmer, Gartmore's head of global developing markets. ''Rio has come back into the fold because of the Olympics and the development of the oil and gas industry.''

Investors go to Rio as opportunities flourish
Sydney Morning Herald
July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

The World Cup's Carbon Footprint

A new study from Ernst and Young documents the carbon emissions related to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The study shows that the event created a footprint of about 2,753,250 tons of CO2.

The impact was roughly eight times greater than that of the previous World Cup in Germany, due to the great distance teams and fans had to travel to reach venues at the tip of the African continent. International travel was responsible for 67.4% of the total emissions.

Intercity travel between game venues was the second largest contributor at 17.6%, while energy use for accomodations came in third at 12.4%.

Environmental Impact of World Cup Needs Improvement
Sustainable Business
July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rio's Stadium Faces Years-Long Closure for Renovation

Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium will close for nearly 2 and a half years for renovations ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Its capacity will be slashed from about 175,000 to about 86,000. [Note: an earlier version of this post indicated that the seating would be reduced to 56,000, which, from what I can tell, is incorrect. Documents from Brazil's 2007 inspection report indicate the stadium will hold roughly 86,000. -NB 7/19/10]

To prepare for Maracana's starring role when Brazil plays host to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA want a stadium with fewer seats and more exits. The new Maracana also will be the venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Olympics.

The stadium will be closed for about 2 ½ years, but the renovation must be finished before Brazil plays host to the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.

Brazilian icon faces makeover
The Miami Herald
July 15, 2010

2012 Olympic Legacy Not Apparent Until 2020

Olympics officials in London say it will take until 2020 to really see the impact of the 2012 Olympics on the city.

The OPLC are now in charge of the legacy projects and making the site economically viable after the 2012 Games but Sir Peter predicted that it will take nearly a decade to be able to assess whether the organisation been successful in achieving their remit, he told the London Assembly at City Hall here today.

Legacy benefits of London Olympics will not be known until 2020
Inside the Games
July 14, 2010

Obama Stumps for a U.S. World Cup

U.S. President Barack Obama is pushing for his country to play host to an upcoming World Cup. The U.S. is bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

While baseball and American football take a front seat, the president said, soccer is a "late entry" to U.S. sports fandom and would only be boosted by a World Cup here.

Obama: U.S. 'very serious' about hosting future World Cup
The Hill
July 14, 2010

World Cup Pressure Moves to Brazil

As the next host of the World Cup in 2014, Brazil is already under pressure to present the tournament.

The challenges faced by Brazil are similar to the ones South Africa had to overcome before this year's World Cup — high crime rates, a huge disparity between rich and poor, long distances between cities, and a need for extensive new infrastructure.

FIFA criticized South African organizers for the country's lack of preparation ahead of the 2010 World Cup, but the nation came through and was ready in time. FIFA president Sepp Blatter eventually awarded South Africa a score of nine (out of 10) for its hosting of Africa's first World Cup.

Now it's Brazil's turn to get ready for the WCup
Associated Press
July 14, 2010

Justifying the Costs of Stadium Construction

This blog post from The Christian Science Monitor looks at stadium construction across the world and how officials are justifying their major capital costs.

In South Africa, the circus has left town. Actually, it’s been nearly three weeks since a game was played in Nelspruit or Polokwane, nothern cities where there is “no rugby or soccer team within hundreds of km.” The next game may be a long way off. That there may not earn enough future revenue to pay for maintenance doesn’t seem to worry those in the spotlight. Says archbishop Tutu: “With all the negative things that are taking place in Africa, this is a superb moment for us. If we are going to have white elephants, so be it.”

Update: global stadium construction
The Christian Science Monitor
July 13, 2010

Brazil Eyes High Speed Rail Line

The Brazilian government is planning to build a high speed rail line to connect Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, its two largest cities. Construction of the line is not likely to be complete by 2014 when the country hosts the World Cup, but will probably be operational in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The government will auction the concession for building the line this December.

The tender offer projects a total cost if 34.6 billion Brazilian reals ($19.5 billion) for the bullet train. Of this, BRL20 billion in financing will come from Brazil's National Development Bank, or BNDES, and BRL4 billion from import-export banks in supplier countries, leaving a little more than BRL10 billion for financing by private sources.

The auction will take place at Brazil's BM&FBovespa stock exchange in Sao Paulo on Dec. 16 and will be open to both domestic and foreign investors.

Brazil Sets Dec. 16 For Auction Of Bullet Train Concession
Automated Trader
July 13, 2010

Troubled Future for South Africa's World Cup Stadia

With few takers seeking to occupy the new stadia built for the World Cup, concerns hang heavy over South Africa's World Cup host cities and the investments they made in sports infrastructure.

There’s virtually no way that South Africa’s football, rugby, and cricket teams will have use for ten stadia, all of which hold at least 45,000 people (Soccer City stadium, pictured at left, holds 95,000). In the 2009-2010 season, South Africa’s Premiere Football League played 212 games — only four drew more than 40,000 fans, according to Sports Industry magazine. Five of these stadia are brand new, built just for the World Cup. Many of them have been built on land that could have been used for much-needed housing. The costs of maintaining these structures — from regular building maintenance to power to security — are big enough to raise the question of whether, and how, they will be kept up

Will the World Cup Stadia Become South Africa’s New Slums?
The Infrastructurist
July 13, 2010

What Future Beyond the Cup?

As the World Cup fades away in South Africa, locals are left wondering whether the investment was worthwhile, and how the government will shift its focus to the country's pressing social and economic problems.

[I]t remains to be seen if the enthusiasm and unity fostered by the World Cup can be sustained, or if a national torpor will overtake a fractious country in which much of the population lacks basic services. If the resolve that led to a successful tournament can be marshaled to provide needed services, it could be testament to the power of sport to improve lives. But South Africans are wary that once the enthusiasm of the tournament dissipates, this country of 48 million people will return to normal, which is to say 25 percent unemployment and wide disparities between the rich and the poor.

South Africa Wonders What Lies Beyond the Cup
The New York Times
July 12, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

LOC Says South Africa Can Handle Olympics

South Africa's 2010 Local Organizing Committee head says that the country's hosting of the World Cup proves that it is capable of hosting other major events, including the Olympics.

"This World Cup has helped change the image of South Africa, achieved an image makeover of the country, almost a rebranding of the country. And also a demonstration of the capacity of the country," said [Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the 2010 organising committee].

The infrastructure investment required to deliver Africa's first World Cup was the subject of intense argument, but organisers consistently claimed that changing perceptions of potential investors and tourists would be a key benefit.

Now for the Olympics, says man who brought World Cup to South Africa
July 11, 2010

Brazil Invests in Transit Ahead of 2014 World Cup

As Brazil prepares to host the next World Cup in 2014, its government is planning to invest heavily in urban mobility systems in its 12 host cities.

Twelve Brazilian cities have been selected to host World Cup matches. These cities now face a daunting but exciting challenge: to seize this opportunity to boost urban transit systems in a meaningful and lasting way. World Cup transit investments — meant to help Brazilian cities manage the estimated 2.98 billion additional visitors that the Cup will generate — have the potential to improve quality of life, safety and accessibility in Brazilian cities long after the Cup is over.

The federal government has set aside R$7.68 billion (US$4.34 billion) for “urban mobility” infrastructure improvements in host cities; state and local governments have committed an additional R$3.8 billion (about US$2.15 billion), bringing the total to R$11.48 billion (US$6.48 billion). Private investments will increase this figure. Ideally, transit projects should be nearly complete by the Confederations Cup, which will Brazil will host in 2013 as a prelude to the World Cup.

Spotlight on the World Cup: Brazil Gears Up for Games with Urban Transit Investments
The City Fix
July 9, 2010

Using The World Cup as a Springboard

Officials in South Africa are saying that the country needs to use its success hosting the World Cup to continue to make progress as a nation.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has formed a basis on which real opportunities can be built and the potential it has provided must be expanded, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Monday.

"This event has provided a positive impetus to economic trends which may not have otherwise have existed," Sacci said in a statement.

World Cup 'a basis to make progress'
Fin 24
July 12, 2010

South Africans: Was World Cup Worth it?

With the 2010 World Cup now over, locals are asking the inevitable question: was the World Cup worth the effort and investment?

The government certainly seems to believe so, which a cynic might point out is hardly surprising given that many of the governing elite and their friends and families treated the World Cup as an opportunity to party for a month at the taxpayer's expense. But this is not a time for cynicism, especially since there are clear indications that the goodwill South Africans of all colours and classes exhibited towards each other during the honeymoon period after 1994 has made a welcome comeback as a direct result of the World Cup.

South Africa: Was the World Cup Worthwhile?
Business Day
July 12, 2010

South Africans: Now What?

Now that the 2010 World Cup has ended, locals in South Africa are left wondering what will come after the event that has dominated the nation's attention for years.

Sport's biggest showpiece was six years in the planning and came to define the national agenda, shaping budget priorities, infrastructure development and daily conversations from townships to vineyards.

Over the past month it has put South Africa at the centre of the sporting world, silencing the critics with its smooth operation and vuvuzela-blowing joie de vivre. It has helped challenge the way Africa is perceived around the world.

But when the final whistle blows at tonight's final between Holland and Spain at Soccer City, and the global gaze shifts elsewhere, it will leave a World Cup-shaped hole in many South Africans' lives. Tomorrow morning they will wake up with one almighty hangover.

South Africans ponder life after the World Cup
July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Johannesburg Crime Down During World Cup

Crime is markedly down in Johannesburg during the World Cup, which has some locals calling for the city to sustain its increased police presence after the World Cup ends.

Facing unprecedented global attention, South Africa dedicated more than 40,000 police officers to World Cup security. But many have been paid overtime, which will be unsustainable in the long term.

[Clive Humphrey, managing director of ADT in South Africa's northern region], called on the government to consolidate the gains. "We're just desperately hopeful the levels of policing to sustain the visibility can be maintained. If they don't, we all fear crime will return to the levels we saw before the World Cup."

World Cup kicks violent South African crime into touch
The Guardian
July 9, 2010

Blatter Backs SA Bid for 2020 Olympics

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has annonced that he will fully back South Africa if any of its cities choose to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

South Africa's successful hosting of the World Cup has increased its prospects of hosting the event when bidding opens for the 2020 Games. President Jacob Zuma told reporters last week that South Africa was up to the task.

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 Games to Brazil, making it the first time a South American country will host the games. This will leave Africa as the only continent yet to stage the Olympics.

South Africa: Olympics Hopes Get Blatter's Backing
Bua News
July 9, 2010

Cape Town Fan Walk Likely Here to Stay

Officials in Cape Town are planning to keep the Fan Walk pedestrianized link between the Green Point Stadium and the central business district as an ongoing public amenity. The Fan Walk will be closed to traffic during large events at the stadium.

Beach Road in Sea Point could also be "vehicle-free" on weekends if a plan by local ward councillor JP Smith gets the go-ahead from residents and the council.

Smith said the fan walk would most probably be a permanent feature in the future.

"I've had a number of conversations with residents, but people are divided. But in future, when we do have large events, we should have it."

Fan walk here to stay
Cape Times
July 9, 2010

Delays Threaten Sao Paulo's Hosting Duties for 2014

Sao Paulo's hosting of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are still up in the air, as progress on the city's stadium have been mired in delays. FIFA officials and Local Organizing Committee head Ricardo Texeira are warning that the city needs to speed up its preparations.

Sao Paulo's plans were thrown into confusion last month when the committee and world governing body FIFA dropped the proposed venue, the Morumbi stadium, because the city had failed to provide financial guarantees for the renovation of the arena.

"If Sao Paulo wants to host the opening game or the competition as a whole, the deadline is getting close," Teixeira told reporters.

Time running out for Sao Paulo 2014 hopes
July 8, 2010

Port Elizabeth Booms During Cup

Businesses and tourism officials in Port Elizabeth are reporting high visitation rates and economic activity resulting from its hosting of World Cup matches.

"We are expecting the influx of supporters for these teams will translate into high rand figures. The World Cup has been very good for us," Chuene said.

Port Elizabeth's Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Percci) said many of its retail and tourism sector members had reported an increase in turnover.

PE to cash in on the World Cup
Independent Online
July 9, 2010

Brazilian Host Cities Back On Track

Despite complaints from FIFA just two months ago, Brazilian host cities are reportedly on track to meet stadium deadlines ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

FIFA awarded the 2014 World Cup hosting rights six years ago, but Brazil has barely begun building and renovating the 12 stadiums it needs. [Brazil football federation president Ricardo] Teixeira said that "the situation is completely different" to when [FIFA secretary general Jerome] Valcke spoke.

"Some of the stadia have commenced building. We have already defined exactly what's going to be happening in terms of budgets for the construction up to December," he said, although he failed to highlight any specific details.

Brazil 2014 preparations "on track"
July 10, 2010

Mistakes to Avoid for Brazil's 2014 World Cup

Despite claims that the 2010 FIFA World Cup went off "nearly perfectly", mistakes were made, and there is room for improvement over the next four years as the tournament prepares to head to Brazil, according to this article.

The tournament may have at times been a playground for the world's rich and famous, with celebrities flocking to South Africa's biggest cities to soak up some of the action, but on the ground there was still considerable ground for improvement.

At the top of this list was the issue of tickets and making sure there is no repeat in Brazil of the vast empty spaces we saw, especially in the group phase. FIFA's insistence before the tournament that 97% of tickets had been sold hardly seemed credible. If that was indeed the case, then huge amounts of seats earmarked for the so-called "football family" - mainly sponsors and VIP bigwigs - were not taken up and needs to be thoroughly re-examined as a principle.

Lessons to learn before Brazil 2014
July 10, 2010

Cape Town: Where Walking Is An Option

This post from ESPN discusses the poor walking environment in Johannesburg, and the safer and more walkable urban realm of Cape Town.

Cape Town is different. Police and security guards line pedestrian corridors and populate street corners, so that it's possible for people of all races to stroll from pub to club to restaurant after midnight without ever dealing with an automobile.

In the grand scheme of things, that's a recipe for safety. The security of car travel is an illusion here; highway wrecks were a common sight. I counted six in one day early in the tournament, and the tournament opened with a tragedy when Nelson Mandela's 13-year-old great-granddaughter died after the opening concert, the victim of a drunk driver.

A stroll in South Africa -- weird, huh?
July 5, 2010

Thanks to urban planning student Linden Weiswerda for the link!

Success on Cape Town's Fan Walk

This post from Cool Town Studios gives a favorable review of the Cape Town Fan Walk, a pedestrianized 1.6 mile/2.6 kilometer promenade connecting the Green Point Stadium with the central business district.

You can’t ask for a more entertaining walk, or rather, experience. What’s more, it’ll be a cultural showcase of the best Cape Town and South Africa have to offer in terms of local food (braai, potije, boerewors, gourjons…) to local entertainment (from live bands to drum circles).

Now, in the spirit of crowdsourcing, with the tremendous success of the Fan Walk demonstrated by the enthusiastic crowds, should there by any surprise that the local government is now looking at making it more of a permanent feature?

Also linked this video about planning the Fan Fest:

Cape Town’s spectacular World Cup fan walk
Cool Town Studios
July 9, 2010

Zuma: $4.3 Billion Was Worth It

South African President Jacob Zuma says the 33 billion Rand (~$4.3 billion USD) spent by the national treasury to host the World Cup was a worthy investment. He specifically cited long-term improvements to communications and transportation infrastructure, as well as social improvements.

But the social impact had been even greater, he said, as black and white fans packed into stadiums and fan parks together, 16 years after the first all-race elections ended white-minority rule.

"The social benefits are priceless. We have seen remarkable unity, patriotism and solidarity being displayed by South Africans, which has never been witnessed before," Zuma told an investment meeting.

Zuma hails World Cup benefits
Sport 24
July 7, 2010

Foreign Visitors Top 1 Million Mark During World Cup

More than a million foreign visitors have come to South Africa during the World Cup period, according to figures from the Home Affairs department.

The Movement Control System (MCS), which was launched by Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and linked to Sars and law enforcement agencies, had enabled the country to monitor movements of persons entering the country, particularly during the period leading up to and during the various phases of the World Cup.

In that regard, the MCS recorded a total number of foreigners visiting the country from June 1 to July 1 as 1 020 321 compared to 819 495 for the same period in 2009. This represented an increase of 200 826 or 25%.

1 million tourists enter SA
Sport 24
July 4, 2010

Stadia Need Rugby To Break Even

Officials are calling on South African rugby teams to take up the new or upgraded World Cup stadia as their new homes to help offset the costs of building them for the event. But some are unwilling to move.

[W]hile the world champion Springboks are set to play their archrivals, the New Zealand All Blacks, at Soccer City next month, other rugby sides are reluctant to move from their homes to the new stadiums, indicating tough prospects ahead for the future upkeep of the new venues.

"I think that clearly there will have to be good balance of both football and rugby together to ensure proper use of the stadiums," said Danny Jordaan, the chief organiser of South Africa's hosting of the World Cup.

Rugby, soccer must pay for stadiums
Independent Online
July 4, 2010

World Cup Creates Up to 50,000 Permanent Jobs

New estimates predict that more than 50,000 permanent jobs have been created by the World Cup.

Gillian Saunders, the principal of Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions, said on Friday that between 20 000 and 50 000 sustainable jobs could be created in South Africa as result of the World Cup.

This is in line with the 50 000 jobs created during the 2006 event in Germany.

Cup tally may top 50 000 permanent jobs
Business Report
June 28, 2010