Pretoria - Last week, professional services firm EY disclosed the 2015 Rugby World Cup delivered £2.3bn in economic benefits to the UK. It created 41 000 jobs with more than 400 000 international visitors spending a combined £958m during their average two week stay.
That’s a juicy carrot worth over R900 to each man, woman and child in a rugby-playing country like South Africa. Especially attractive now economic growth has fallen to under half the rate of the expanding population. But the Minister of Sport says until the Springboks field more racially balanced teams, tournaments like the RWC are off the agenda.
I can relate to the small fellow’s irritation. Like other English speakers from Natal, for years we were convinced of the Springbok conspiracy against our tribe. Then they made one of ours coach and another the captain – and we still couldn’t beat the All Blacks.
Sport is best left to athletes. And governance to people who understand that idealistic slogans are no match for the morale booster of a full stomach and a winning national team. Social engineering is a costly business.