Thursday, June 3, 2010

The dark side of the World Cup

With the start of the World Cup a week away most of the talk will center around the teams, match ups and parties surrounding the world's biggest tournament. Even I am starting to fill out brackets and planning my nights out watching matches. However what sometimes gets lost in the hype are the people that end up being effected by the world cup. Stadiums have to be built, concessions sold, space made for all the revelers traveling to support their teams or just take in a world cup. In order for these spaces to be made people need to be moved, in the case of South Africa the poorest of the poor have been swept aside to make way for the advertising Juggernaut that is a FIFA event.

Not unlike what happened during the build up to the Beijing summer games 2 years ago, South Africa has displaced many of the homeless or working poor of its major cities in order to uphold an image of a host city. Whole rows of houses have been torn down in order for new stadiums to be built in Cape Town and Johannesburg. As said in the article I'm attaching to this post, the local governments are claiming that most of the residences destroyed were places not suitable for human occupation. They go on to add that the infrastructure that will be left behind will create job opportunities for the whole community for years on end, even those who were "temporarily" displaced.

The difficult thing to understand when looking at this from the outside, is that with all the proposed money that's coming in to build the stadiums, the anticipated revenue coming in through t.v rights, concession sales, tourism etc, there is no official plan to help re-house the displaced after July 11th. This is the greatest fear from poverty activist, what will happen when the circus leaves town? how does the government of South Africa plan to tackle the issue of affordable housing? (If you live in Toronto this sounds familiar to you too) It seems odd that a government would waste money paying temp works to hand the poor bars of soap, toothpaste/brushes and other toiletries, but won't use a part of that same money and create permanent housing to help solve the issue.

Many South Africans who were jumping for joy in 2004 when they were awarded the tournament are now starting to question who's really going to benefit? The country or the companies who will be advertising, and who have exclusive rights on their products around world cup venues. The plight of independent concession kart owners against the temporary exclusive branded ones is another story for another post.

Mohammed Allie wrote an excellent report on the above issues, click on his name to check it out.


No comments:

Post a Comment