Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stadiums are an investment?


Haven't we all heard this before? Weren't the flashy new stadiums in Korea and Japan for the 2002 FIFA World Cup supposed to be an investment in the domestic football leagues? Weren't they supposed to be the lasting reminders of how they hosted the World Cup and that their clubs now get to play in those state of the art stadiums?

Aren't the 2002 World Cup Stadiums constantly empty for domestic league matches? Aren't the Korean stadiums having issues with their upkeep and repair?

Is FIFA damning South Africa to the same type of "investment?"

According to a report on FIFA's website, the construction on the five new stadiums must begin by January of 2007. Here is one quote from FIFA General Secretary, Dr Urs Linsi -

""These stadiums are not costs, they are investments," he said. "A major part of these costs is an investment in the future." Dr Linsi also urged the South African public and media to get behind the FIFA World Cup in their homeland."

Ok, so it appears that Sepp Blatter is not the only one smoking from the same crack pipe. What type of an investment are these? Build five new, large stadiums and after the World Cup, you can use them for your domestic league clubs. Does South Africa have a domestic league that is capable of filling these stadiums? According to South Africa's official World Cup 2010 website, the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg will be built to hold 104,000 fans. There isn't a stadium in the EPL that holds that many seats! The USA doesn't have a NFL stadium that holds that many, FedEx Field has 90,000+ and it is the biggest! Should a developing country be shelling out that much money for a stadium that will never get fully used again?

Here is another quote from the article -

"The expectation is that, upon completion, Soccer City will be the flagship stadium of the tournament. Traditionally, South African football has not enjoyed the same access to quality stadiums as rugby union, but this will be just one of numerous football-dedicated arenas that will help form the FIFA World Cup's legacy in South Africa."

What type of legacy is FIFA trying to create in South Africa?

I hope that the World Cup stays in South Africa. I plan on attending the tournament and seeing the very beautiful country that is hosting it. I just hope that in the "good natured" idea of rotating the World Cup to continents that have never hosted (Africa) or haven't hosted in a long while (South America) FIFA, through it's stadium rules and regulations, are not damning these nations to spending Billions of dollars for stadiums, ones that might not fully return their investment, when the host nations government could be spending that money somewhere else.

2 Comments:

Blogger Thomas Shawn said...

This World Cup in South africa is shaping up to be a disaster.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, the really big stadiums are going to be used more for rugby, which is HUGE in South Africa, than for soccer. So with the huge ones, that's something to keep in mind.

But I get your point, and it's well made.

12:26 PM  

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