World Cup money must fund development

2013-04-21 10:00

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But Mbalula says we won’t see another big event for 10 years.

Despite hosting a successful Fifa World Cup in 2010, South Africans might have to wait for up to a decade to see another ­world-class sporting event being hosted in this country.

This startling revelation was made by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday when he presented the government’s final World Cup report.

Government has decided to spend money on the country’s immediate needs rather than on expensive sports jamborees, said Mbalula.

He conceded that the World Cup had brought massive spin-offs to the country, but said Cabinet had agreed “we don’t have an appetite to bid for other things at the moment”.

“We have other things in mind. In fact, they wanted us to bid for the Olympics, but we said we needed to focus on what needs to be done, given the benefits of the World Cup. The possibility of hosting in future will be there,

but we have recession and challenges as we want to meet the basic needs and accelerate projects of infrastructure.”

The first major event could be the 2023 IRB Rugby World Cup if South Africa succeeds in their bid, as SA Rugby Union boss Oregan Hoskins said his organisation was confident of getting it.

“After missing out on the previous allocations of World Cups for 2015 in England and 2019 in Japan, I am optimistic that we can only lose it ourselves.

“We are strong contenders and we have the infrastructure.

“The World Cup has shown that we are more than capable of hosting big events,” said Hoskins.

But, he said, from South Africa’s perspective, it was important to have stability, good governance, accountability and transparency.

Mbalula sounded amenable to the idea, saying that the cricket and rugby federations’ healthy financial status did not prevent them from bidding for international events, as they were well-resourced.

Taking a dig at the SA Football Association (Safa) with whom he is embroiled in a scuffle over match-fixing and their financial affairs, Mbalula said: “They are not like Safa, who needs us for everything, but runs to Fifa when it is time to account.”

The chief executive of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Tubby Reddy, said the problem with South Africa was that there was no bidding and hosting strategy.

He added, however, that they have completed a report and were in the process of rolling out a

17-year plan in terms of hosting events.

Mbalula spoke glowingly about the benefits of the World Cup, saying it was the best thing that had happened to the country.

He said the challenge was now to make sure its legacy projects are sustained for years to come.

“Many were saying hosting megaevents was a wasteful expenditure, but this has proven to be wrong. Hosting the World Cup has changed the perception for the world about this country, and this will never change.

“My proudest moment was the fact that Fifa did not come to the country and flee with the money. They left lots of it here so that it should benefit us,” said Mbalula.

He said the money should be channelled towards sports development.

“Where it is necessary, you will need to support people to undergo and execute their work, but, all of a sudden, you can’t wake up with a Mercedes-Benz, which, before 2010, you didn’t have. What money? Legacy Funds. No, we can’t do that.

“The money must go to sports development and there must be visible delivery with regards to that. No compromise,” emphasised Mbalula.

2010 World Cup chairperson Irvin Khoza said the event had dispelled the stereotypes about Africa.

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