December 3rd, 2010
03:16 PM GMT
Been there, done that.
That’s what some South Africans might be saying after watching the announcement of which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup football events.
While many here might be slightly nostalgic about their World Cup memories, others will be utterly relieved that the whole experience is over.
Either way, the questions still remain about just how viable it is for a country to host the World Cup. This past week’s announcements have again made South Africans reflect on the financial implications of hosting one of the world’s largest tournaments.
Yes, it was a party. Yes, everyone was happy. Yes, the vuvuzela become a global institution.
But did you know, according to the South African government, that it cost $150 million to construct the Polokwane stadium – just one of the 10 stadiums across the country that were either rebuilt or newly built.
Now, unsurprising to many, months after the World Cup, that stadium and others in South Africa are largely unused and saddled with costly maintenance budgets. Two million dollars a year is spent by the local authorities to upkeep the grass and the structure at Polokwane, says a staff member of the World Cup “legacy” programs.
The Limpopo province, where the stadium is located, is one of the poorest areas of South Africa. The education system is crumbling and the employment rate is worryingly high.
It is a question I have asked over and over again: Was the World Cup worth it?
Most South Africans will say yes, even though there was no tangible benefit for them. That month of football was a happy, sweet time for South Africans – a whopping, expensive party that was well worth the hangover.
So, my questions: Do you think Russia and Qatar “deserve” the World Cup? Can they beat the spectacle South Africa put on? Will you be going to Brazil, Russia or Qatar to watch the football in the years ahead? Is all the hoopla really worth it?
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