Much has been talked about the ‘legacy’ of the World Cup being a catalyst for future social and economic improvement in South Africa. But little has been given in evidence as to the real investment or projects that this ‘legacy’ will turn into. Instead, all one hears about is the ‘legacy’ – relating to the ‘spirit’ of the WC that will somehow improve South Africas still poor social situation.
There is only so much which a nations success at delivering an international sporting event can do for its future economic and social growth. What it does prove is that South Africa has excellent infrastructure such as stadia, transport, and most importantly security – something which the tabloid press in the UK claimed would ruin the tournaments success. But as for the ‘legacy’ of the WC being relied upon as a catalyst for wider social and economic improvement, there is little real evidence beyond the rhetoric.
The only evidence I remember seeing throughout the coverage of the WC focussing on the so called ‘legacy’ – which was almost entirely covered by the BBC and not ITV – was a small piece Clarence Seedorf gave to camera before one of the games about a foundation he was setting up aimed at providing young people with safe playground facilities. This was given as evidence as part of the WCs ‘legacy’ after the tournament. Somewhow, I dont think Seedorfs playgorund will deliver the remedies to one of the worlds highest unemployment rates, and the worlds second highest number of HIV/Aids patients.
No doubt Clarence Seedorf is doing something honourable in his efforts through his foundation Champions for Children, and obviously this piece is not a diatribe against the man. But, the press has not offered any tangible evidence regarding real investment and nationwide projects in South Africa which will deliver social and economic improvement on the back of the World Cup – as its ‘legacy’. And this begs the question, will the World Cup deliver a ‘legacy’ at all? Of course, if a WC, or other major sporting event, doesnt lead to further social and economic improvement (think the Olympics in Athens) this shouldn’t be seen as a failure of the event itself. But if ‘legacy’ is emphasised to such a blatant degree as it has been with the South African WC, yet there seems to be no real evidence of investment or projects forming a ‘legacy’, then this is a failure. Especially when you are raising the hopes of people suffering from problems such as unemployment and HIV/Aids which would benefit from real direct investment into alleviating these problems.