The big news from FIFA this morning is the comments from general secretary Jerome Valcke. He says some western countries are very negative about the World Cup and asks that South Africa be given the same fair treatment other World Cup hosts get. Find out more here.
First, let’s deal with this negativity issue. As someone who sees this type of South Africa knocking on a regular basis in the UK press it would be disingenuous of me to pretend it doesn’t exist. Some papers here have never been happy with the idea of a World Cup in South Africa. Their view of the country post-apartheid is uniformly bleak. But that’s their view and in a democratic country with a free press they are entitled to hold it. For every negative story about crime I could show you one on the new stadia in South Africa.The problem is when people such as Valcke automatically assume this negativity affects everyone. Try telling that to the 23,000 England fans who have already bought tickets. Distance, cost and logistics are much bigger issues to the average fan.
Second, there should be “fair treatment for South Africa, the same treatment that all the other World Cup countries got.” I’m not sure what this means. Germany four years ago didn’t have a negative image because it had and still has a relatively low crime rate. To my knowledge there were no strikes to threaten the building of new stadia because none were needed. The country had and still has its economic problems but the challenges it faces are nowhere near as stark as those facing politicians and civic leaders in South Africa. It’s time to face facts – we aren’t comparing like with like here. I’m a strong supporter of a World Cup in South Africa, but the country has its problems and it is foolish to suggest otherwise. Most fair-minded people want a successful World Cup wherever it is held. At the same time they want to make informed choices and are suspicious of the official line. These suspicions won’t go away while the likes of Valcke continually tar us all with the same negative brush.
Anyway, here’s the full report.
By the way, this article and the quotes totally contradict the negative West line we and the rest of the world are being spoonfed. The pictures are hilarious too.
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