Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of Scoop.it! Football Finance

Lessons from South Africa

Posted by John Beech on January 5, 2011

If you are still ‘feeling the hurt’ of England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup (and perhaps thinking London 2012 will be a roaring success), you may well be interested in the results of a survey made by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and South African Tourism (SAT) on the impact of the 2010 World Cup.  Apparently it  shows that “without a doubt that the event will have a lasting legacy in terms of the South African tourism industry” (1).

Now this doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.  It has long been established by Adam Blake, Professor of Economics & Econometrics at Bournemouth University’s School of Tourism, and others, that the Olympics, for example, can have a positive economic effect.  The impact varies though – generally it is fairly local, and, in terms of an ongoing tourism legacy, the less the destination is already an established tourism destination, the bigger the subsequent impact.

Undoubtedly there are some great headline statistics for South Africa.  See futebolfinance for a quick summary.  But as futebolfinance points out, “With a cost that was estimated at about 3,225 million Euros (see How much is a FIFA World Cup ), the benefits are clearly below costs, leaving just as big beneficiaries of the events, FIFA itself and the sponsoring companies that achieve a huge media exposure.”  South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk insists that “I have no doubt that South Africa is reaping the rewards of hosting the Cup.”  Well, he wouldn’t, would he?

All of this just reinforces my personal view that FIFA (and the IOC) have done an amazing PR job in managing to get countries queuing up to lose money while others reap the benefit.  In the case of FIFA, where Seb Blatter has made much of his desire to take the World Cup beyond its traditional host areas, it is abundantly clear that the number of possible new venues is going to be extremely limited.  Beyond Qatar, the ability to finance the hosting of a FIFA World Cup may be restricted to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  Is that really Blatter’s intention?  There is an obvious way of facilitating a wider range of hosts – cash-rich FIFA could subsidise the hosting.  Not that I’m holding my breath mind you…

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7 Responses to “Lessons from South Africa”

  1. Paul Giess said

    This is all very true but what is hard to factor in is the improved self image and resulting confidence amongst the people of a country like South Africa – maybe also for Germany too and possibly for Russia in the future. It is hard to put a monetary value on this but South African’s have a renewed confidence in their country from the succesful hosting of the event. Having witnessed how well the event was managed some citizens who left the country during the political changes since 1994 have returned and helped to reverse the brain drain. There is more confidence in general that the country can tackle its existing social problems. Perhaps this is unique to South Africa but such intangible benefits are hard to quantify.

    We also hope of course that the revenue from the event that has just been paid to our football association will create a lasting legacy for improvement of our local league – hopefully as significant as the improved quality and image of the MLS.

    • John Beech said

      Undoubtedly FIFA 2010 made a major contribution to South Africa’s image, both internally and externally, building on the earlier successes of the equivalent cricket and rugby union events.

      Two things cause me concern

      a) Those heading bids for such events place far too much emphasis on ludicrous claims for the potential economic benefit rather than more honest claims for the potential ‘feel good’ factor.

      b) FIFA claims a desire to spread the World Cup wider. The reality is that it fails to put its money where its mouth is. It is happy just to sit back and reap the economic benefits and push up the hosts costs by over-specifying what the host must deliver, resulting in entirely inappropriate legacy in terms of sporting infrastructure.

      I would feel a lot more comfortable if FIFA developed a model 5hat would allow Liberia, Congo or Burundi a chance of hosting. At present, a country needs to be rich enough to allow it to accept intangible benefits as the reward for hosting.

      • Paul Giess said

        I agree very much with your point B.

        Already here in SA I have heard talk of bidding again once Africa gets the chance. SA is the only economy on the continent big enough to manage the event in its current format. Egypt, as the strongest side on the continent, should be considered on footballing ability – maybe 2022 might set out a model for how a WC could be held in a hot desert country but I am skeptical at the moment.

        Maybe a joint bid between SA and neighbouring countries could work and bring smaller countries into the event (e.g.Botswana who are on the verge of qualifying for the AFCON next year)

      • John Beech said

        I strongly recommend Paul’s Ayoba blog on 2010.

  2. […] Lessons from South Africa « Football Management – We also hope of course that the revenue from the event that has just been paid to our football association will create a lasting legacy for improvement of our local league – hopefully as significant as the improved quality and … […]

  3. […] Lessons from South Africa « Football Management – We also hope of course that the revenue from the event that has just been paid to our football association will create a lasting legacy for improvement of our local league – hopefully as significant as the improved quality and … […]

  4. […] Lessons from South Africa « Football Management – We also hope of course that the revenue from the event that has just been paid to our football association will create a lasting legacy for improvement of our local league – hopefully as significant as the improved quality and … […]

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