Queen's University

World Cup controversy

2010-07-13

The 2010 World Cup is the first time the world’s largest sporting event has been held in Africa. Queen’s Global Development Studies Professor David McDonald is available to discuss some of the controversies associated with hosting the event there.

“FIFA celebrates this as a ‘victory’ for the continent and former South African president Thabo Mbeki claims that this will be the moment “when Africa stands tall and resolutely turns the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict”,” says Professor McDonald. “Is this a victory, or will it be a disaster that commits the country to infrastructure it does not really need? The $6 billion spent on stadia and related infrastructure will benefit a (largely white) elite, with very few benefits for the majority of low-income South Africans. If anything, spending on the World Cup will deepen already profound inequalities in the country, squeezing the potential for government spending on more critical poverty-reduction initiatives such as housing, hospitals and transportation systems. Television coverage of the games, meanwhile, will project a comfortable and gentrified image of South Africa, glossing over the ongoing struggles for social and economic justice.”
A soccer fan and player himself, Professor McDonald has spent 21 years working, living and conducting research in South Africa. He is the author or editor of nine books about the country, including “World City Syndrome: Neoliberalism and Inequality in Cape Town”.

To arrange an interview, contact Kristyn Wallace at (613)533-6000 ext 79173 or (613)331-0939 kristyn.wallace@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at (613)533-6000 ext 77513 michael.onesi@queensu.ca, News and Media Services, Queen’s University.

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