The World Cup: Counting the Cost

You are here

The World Cup

Counting the Cost

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


World Cup fever!

For a small African country, hosting the world's most-watched sporting championship is a once-in-a-lifetime event! It's an event that South Africa has been looking forward to for six years.

But what of the cost of staging such a world-class event?

The $1.2 billion that FIFA (the world soccer federation) has spent on South Africa is more than for any World Cup (WC) in history, according to Business Report (June 17, 2010). estimated the total costs to the country to be around $3.7 billion (March 19, 2008).

"Some more mind boggling numbers to consider," declares (June 2, 2010): "More than $400 million was spent to renovate the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg; Green Point Stadium in Cape Town was built for $600 million; and a 70,000-seat stadium was built in Durban for $450 million, and that's just a sampling of the money trail.

"Should these jaw-dropping sums of money be spent to erect soccer stadiums in cities where countless children living in the shadows of these extravagant structures don't have...even the equipment to play?"

The New York Times wondered: "How could there be money for a 46,000-seat stadium [in Nelspruit] while many of [the local people] still fetch water from dirty puddles and live without electricity or toilets?" (March 12, 2010).

According to,"South Africa will be saddled with 10 new or newly renovated football stadiums that are much too large for domestic demand and require a large amount of spending for upkeep and maintenance" (June 21, 2010).

Other costs to consider

What about other indirect costs?

Pretoria News Weekend reported June 19 that around $3 million of public money had been spent so far by government departments and state entities on tournament tickets. "Trade Union Nehawu blasted the spending by 'shameless bureaucratic fatcats. Our union finds it totally unacceptable that our townships are burning because of poor service delivery and millions go hungry every day—yet the...state bureaucrats are stealing taxpayers' money to watch soccer.'" had this scathing assessment on June 21: "Present estimates of total cost are 757% above the original guesstimates... The WC expenditure has displaced investment in projects with more intrinsic and long-term priorities such as health and education. It is estimated that WC-related infrastructure spending is equivalent to ten years of housing investment. For every seven seats in the new stadiums a fully equipped school library could have been built—only 7% of South Africa's schools have functioning libraries...

"When South Africa was announced as the host for FIFA's premier event, it was vaunted as a great expression of the so-called Rainbow Nation to bridge social, economic and political interests.

"Here is the reality: The trade unions have been instructed not to strike for the duration of the WC; the matches are not accessible to most local people due to relative remoteness and prohibitive cost; an unofficial 'blind eye' has been turned to human trafficking...leading up to WC; and...South Africa's sometimes shameful behaviour towards other Africans is rearing its head with reports of renewed hostility towards [African] refugees, professionals and business people. Frankly the government was asking a lot from a small leather soccer ball to resolve the country's complex social dilemmas.

"Soccer is historically the sport of the black working class majority and it is this majority who have greatest need of any benefits derived from this event. Unemployment stands at over 40% and youth unemployment stands at nearly 70%" (emphasis added).

The future

Indeed, it could take years for the economy of South Africa to return to normal. But why is it that this country is now facing such an arsenal of maladies?

The loss of God's blessings is hardly surprising considering the way many South Africans (in keeping with the norms of the modern world) continue to ignore the religious and moral standards upon which their nation was built. Too many allow decadence, immorality and pleasure seeking to consume their lives, as our whole world moves farther and farther away from God.

The incredible news is that a better world is in the making, one in which hunger, poverty, pestilence and disease will be unknown. At that time the entire world will learn the way of peace! All nations will live by God's righteous laws! And "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:9).

You can be a part of this wonderful world! To find out more, download or request our free booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom. It will be a decision you won't regret!