The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was a major success in many ways.

The fears of crime and lawlessness were groundless and South Africa projected an image to the world of a vibrant young country which had met the challenges of producing a world class sporting event.

It was claimed by the Johannesburg local authority recently that for every rand which was invested eight were generated, although the figures are not entirely accepted by many local economists.

Hosting the World Cup does not come cheap.

FIFA are hard taskmasters since the income it generates from the competition is the main source of income, over a four year cycle, for all its development courses, other competitions and special projects, not forgetting the $1 million paid to all its 208 member association over this four year period.

Sentiment was not FIFA’s only consideration in staging the competition in South Africa.

It demanded new stadia, rather than refurbished ones, at a cost of $1.6 billion.

Attendances in the Absa Premier League in South Africa were up 8% last year but several of the venues are still without tenant clubs since they are too big to fill on a weekly basis.

Things are not yet as bad as they are in Portugal where two local councils are considering demolishing EURO 2004 venues because they are too expensive to maintain.

Korea had a similar problem after the 2002 FIFA World Cup when it found it impossible to fill all ten stadia it built for the joint hosting with Japan.

In South Africa, the iconic Cape Town Stadium in the shadow of Table Mountain has major problems with escalating costs. The most successful events have been pop concerts by Neil Diamond and U2 but the profits are well short of meeting costs and there is no sign of a host club such as the Ajax football team or the Western Union rugby union club taking residence in a stadium that cost just less than $700 million.

Not all South African stadia are in this position. The FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, where the World Cup Final was held, is comfortably meeting the $4.5 million annual running costs with a mixture of regular rugby and football matches as well as concerts and stadium tours.

The one guaranteed winner from the 2010 World Cup was FIFA.

It made a profit of $631 million.

After recent events we can only hope it is used ‘For the Good of the Game.’

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