While hosting the 2010 World Cup appeared to be a success for the South African nation, the ugly truth is starting to reveal itself. A slew of economic and social issues are looming over the country and more trouble is brewing. Rapidly worsening income inequality, economic calamities as debt payments come due, and a humiliating performance by the country’s soccer team first round exit are just a few of the issues in the country. Following the exit from the tournament, fans brought about a dose of xenophobia threatening foreigners to leave the country. Along with threats, Police General Bheki Cele has blamed foreigners for the high crime level and for marring the image of the country. Many believe Cele is using the foreigners as a scapegoat to cover his own national crime problems. The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), an organization tasked with promoting and protecting refugee and migrant rights, called xenophobia a “credible threat’ citing potential support of local political actors as a main reason.
Along with xenophobic issues, South Africa will soon be faced with a growing financial crisis. Although hosting the World Cup is a distinguished honor, it comes with a price. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has been accused of being corrupt and having many high-ranking executives receive bribes from host countries. FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke openly bragged how they will spirit away $3.2 billion in pure profit – 50% more than the $1.8 taken from Germany four years ago. Along with this, “FIFA pays no taxes, ignores exchange controls, and is quite likely preparing South Africa for a currency crash in the process.” The corruption has allegedly spread into the police and has shifted the focus from fighting crime to aiding FIFA increase profits. Police arrested individuals for passing out anti-FIFA fliers along two Dutchwomen for wearing Bavarian beer logoed shirts as FIFA was said to be defending Budweiser advertisements.
Additionally, on the British documentary Panorama highlighted claims of bribery on high-ranking FIFA officials. Countries seriously vying for a World Cup bid are often puppets of FIFA. If they want to be a front runner bribery is the answer. Investigative reporter, Andrew Jennings received a confidential document detailing payments totaling around $100 million to FIFA. FIFA executive member Jack Warner was also accused of selling 2010 World Cup tickets on the black market for $84,000. He was previously reprimanded for illegally selling tickets for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Although FIFA claims issues are handled internally, critics feel that it’s time for a reform in FIFA’s governing body.
Sources: “What South Africa Really Lost at the World Cup”
Patrick Bond, Counterpunch.org, June 25-27, 2010
“Swiss authorities to look into Fifa cash for World Cup votes scandal”
Matt Scott, Guardian.co.uk, November 25, 2010
“Panorama: Three Fifa World Cup officials took bribes”
Andrew Jennings, bbcco.uk, November 29, 2010
Student Researchers: Emily Bichler, JB McCallum, Jordan Niespodziany
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley Ph.D.
Evaluator: Guangjun Qu Ph.D.