Tank Lanning

Who died and made FIFA God?

2009-12-09 10:39
Sport24 editor, Tank Lanning
Tank Lanning - Sport24 Editor

So who died and made FIFA God? This is the key question that Fahrenheit 2010, a feature documentary on the impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on South Africa, is asking.

CLICK HERE to see the documentary trailer

And it’s a pertinent one. Having just staged a very professional World Cup draw that made me really proud to be South African, it might just be too easy to shelve pertinent questions that an “alternate” sect are still asking …

Don’t get me wrong, I am massively in favour of South Africa hosting this global event and truly believe we will do an amazing job, but watching Fahrenheit 2010 definitely got me thinking …

Billed as a documentary that “Cuts through the hype, with an uncompromising examination of what the World Cup means for South Africans themselves”, it questions not whether South Africa should host the World Cup, given that the marketing and revenue opportunities are there for all to see. But rather asks who actually stands to benefit from the diversion of millions of dollars to build 21st century sports arenas in a country in which, 15 years after throwing off apartheid’s yoke, millions live in shacks and have no access to water – a South Africa where life expectancy has plummeted beneath that in Ethiopia.

A few shock stats from the documentary set the scene …

  • More murders take place in South Africa each year than in the USA, a country that has a population six times greater than ours.
  • The bricks used in the just the walls surrounding houses to South Africa’s wealthy would have solved the countries housing issues.
  • Bafana Bafana’s world ranking since winning the African Cup of Nations in 1996 reads like a down hill ski slope. They would not have qualified if not hosting

But to my mind, the most pertinent question asked, is why spend such a massive amount of money on new stadia? After all, the Confederations Cup – declared a success by FIFA - was played in stadia that were in existence before South Africa won the bid.

But FIFA put in place a requirement for all big World Cup games to played in stadia with at least 70 000 seats. Quite obviously a requirement to make sure new stadia are built … And we just said yes …

As Martin Welz, editor of Noseweek points out: “At what stage does the TV camera pick up the difference between a 70 000 seat stadium from a 50 000 seat stadium?”

He goes on to say: “South African has been seduced without ability to critically review. FIFA don't care what the post World Cup plan is. FIFA only care about FIFA and the TV revenue generated by the event, none of which comes to South Africa”

The point I think the documentary misses is that this money would not have come into the country were we not staging the World Cup. So it is easy to ask why the money is not rather being spent on some form of socio-economic reform process, but the fact of the matter is that the money is only available BECAUSE we are hosting the World Cup. And money is not only being spent on massive stadia, it is also being spent on a fantastic upgrade of our infrastructure. Sure the traffic jams are frustrating now, but the improved road, train and air structures are going to be key to this country’s success going forward.

Could we have staged a successful World Cup while spending less money? Yes, by spending less on the stadia, even though they are going be amazing. Have we been bent over the barrel by FIFA? Yes, but we certainly don't seem to be the first …

I will close with a quote from Desmond Tutu from the documentary: “The World Cup is a wonderful thing for South Africa, and if we are left with a few white elephants, we are left with a few white elephants”.

Fahrenheit 2010 will make you think …

Fahrenheit 2010 will be shown at the following venues:

The Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 13 December at 8:15pm, Monday 14 December at 6:15pm and Tuesday 15 December at 6:15pm.
KZNSA in Durban on Sunday 13 December at 7:00pm.
The House of Nsako in Joburg on Wednesday 16 December at 8:15pm

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion.

This event is presented by While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Tank knows nothing about football, is a former WP prop, normally carries on about all things rugby in his Front Row Grunt blog, but as the editor of Sport24, felt the above was really relevant …

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee remains defiant, saying he won't resign despite a shambolic two years at the helm. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.