In a recent post on the Not The Footy Show blog the author wrote about some alarming actions taken by the LOC (local organizing committee). During the recent Confederations Cup, an acknowledged practice run for the real World Cup event in 2010, the LOC forced the owner of a local sports pub located nearby Loftus Versfeld, the site of some of the WC 2010 games, to close their doors. And if this happened during the practice run, we can be assured the same will happen during the World Cup.
This is a shame. As would be hoped after South Africa was awarded the games, local entrepreneurs and business people grasped the economic opportunity that comes with an event of this stature; something that I’m certain the government and LOC were hoping to happen. One business person, George Ioannides, decided to purchase a bar called Trademarks – located in Pretoria close to Loftus Versfeld, home of the Blue Bulls (Super 14 2009 rugby champs) and a WC venue. He installed 55 LCD TV’s as well as a few large screens. When the Blue Bulls are playing he reports to have up to 1,500 customers!
However during the 2 weeks of the Confederations Cup he was forced to close and has been told that he would be forced to close for 6 weeks during next year’s showcase event (the World Cup).
Mr. Ioannides said that
“one of the 300 tenants in and around Loftus have been allowed to trade or have access to their stores”…and “the local organising committee have come in and covered over all of our signs, and even damaged them.”
Nice job LOC. If this what they had in mind when they promised economic development when being awarded the games it sounds pretty fishy to me. It appears that this is a fairly calculated strategy on the part of the LOC rather than a coincidence. And it sounds like if this becomes rampant, it will certainly make many South Africans angry!
Now this might all be part of the agreement with FIFA and their major sponsors. And if it is, they should certainly come out and be transparent about that and perhaps compensate the business people for being closed. As Mr. Ioannides states, he would be happy to comply with FIFA’s sponsors, if they requested it:
“If they had wanted us to sell Budweiser – the world cup sponsor – then ask us and we would have done that.”
Touche’. Gracious reply Mr. Ionnades. I hope that the LOC comes up with a better answer before the big event comes up because if this behavior continues they’re going to have a lot of angry business people that they won’t want to have to deal with along with all of the other game and people logistics. At the least, this is certainly bad press that I’m sure the LOC does not want.
But perhaps there is a silver lining here. This seems like it would be an easy opportunity for a sponsor, such as Budweiser, to be play the gracious guest and help business people, such as Mr. Ionnades out. They could easily compensate him for his expected and/or real losses, ask him to sell Budweiser products, or do any number of other things. Doing ANYTHING, would certainly win them some points with the local business people and would likely help create lasting brand awareness. And I’m sure if they wanted to do something or change the rules, the LOC would certainly acquiesce. What do you say Budweiser?
NOTE: I don’t know the author of this article and have not tried to confirm the content of the article with a third party. I’m only reporting on what else is out there on the internet. But we know everything on the internet is true…right?
Full article can be found here: http://notthefootyshow.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/what-cost-the-world-cup/#comment-122