POSTED: June 22nd 2009

Blatter: Hosting top events in Africa is sport's moral duty

Sepp Blatter: value of investment and legacy /
Sepp Blatter: value of investment and legacy /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

JOHANNESBURG: Bringing major sports events to Africa is a “moral responsibility” for the wealthy western world, according to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president.

Blatter, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, said that the West – i.e. Europe and the United States – should settle a historical debt to the African continent. Next year South Africa, which has hosted rugby and cricket world cups, will host the (original) football version for the first time.

He said: “When we decided to come here people said: ‘Why Safrica?’ People didn’t trust Africa. But why not? That was wrong. Africa has given so much to the western world and it is time to give something back.

“We heard voices say this would bring less money to FIFA but this is not a matter of money. The World Cup is something we can give back to this continent and to its countries.

“We should all trust them. You can live here, breathe here. Of course it’s not perfect but perfection does not exist anywhere on this planet.

Deficiencies and positives

“Bringing an event such as the World Cup here is a moral responsibility. The truth is there are deficiencies and there are positives – but I can assure everyone we will have a very, very good World Cup.”

Politicians and sports officials in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town are all considering the local potential to pursue Olympic hosting at some stage - and Blatter was clear about the extended value of major sports events to the South Africa economy and to the local society in general.

He said: “The issue of legacy is a book with many different chapters. First there is the benefit to the economy because the World Cup has, is and will create so many jobs through the investment.

“For example, we insisted with our partner Adidas that the uniforms for all the volunteers should be made here in this country. That’s one example of what the World Cup can bring.

“Then the investment for the World Cup has also been an investment in airports, roads and telecommunications - a legacy benefit for the entire country.”

Blatter also pointed to the development programme Football For Hope which focuses on education and health care through the vehicle of football.

He praised the British government for a $1bn contribution to programme support throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Blatter added: “The French government has also promised the same though, as yet, we have not yet seen the money.”

Keywords · Confederations Cup · South Africa · Blatter · FIFA · International Olympic Committee · Europe · United States · legacy · Olympic Games · Durban · Cape Town · Johannesburg

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