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Posted by on Apr 29, 2010 in Current Events, Sport | 5 comments

The Murky World of FIFA, South Africa and the 2010 World Cup

Link to The Institute for Security Studies document "Player and Referee: Conflicting interests and the 2010 FIFA World Cup" The Institute of Security Studies has just released its’ Monograph No.169. The rather bland catalogue number hides the documents’ true title: Player and Referee: Conflicting Interests and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And its’ content is anything but bland.

With chapters that focus on a number of irregularities in South Africa securing the initial hosting rights to the prestigious tournament, to the conflicts of interest and corruption through the process of stadium contracts and construction, to the future burden of debt that many cities and their citizens will face post-tournament, the report makes for some damning reading indeed.

Damning and Damaging

The chapter written by Andrew Jennings, for example, focuses on FIFA itself, and how corruption within the body is both damning and damaging. His chapter:

…seeks to demonstrate that FIFA’s embedded corruption, organised to enrich a handful of officials and keep them in perpetual power, has lurched far beyond the sum of its parts. The unaccountable structure they’ve installed is honed to deliver the game to the needs of global capitalism – with no checks or restraints. Just cheques.

Jennings is an award-winning British investigative reporter. He is the author of five books, translated into 15 languages, on topics ranging from corruption at Scotland Yard to racketeering at FIFA. He is also currently the only reporter in the world banned by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Other chapters in the report focus on specific stadium developments, and the tender corruption and conflicts that went into the awarding of much of the 2010 business to “the right people”.

Shadowy Companies, Conflicts of Interest & Corruption

In fact, just the chapter titles themselves make interesting reading:

  •   Soccer City: What it says about the murky world of government tenders; 
  •   Tendering irregularities in the Eastern Cape;
  •   How FIFA corruption empowers global capital;
  •   FIFAs ‘official’ suppliers: Shadowy tenders and conflicts of interest at Match;
  •   Public loss, FIFA’s gain: How Cape Town got its ‘white elephant’; and
  •   Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium: Arch of hope or yoke of debt?

Match Event Services, the official FIFA support services supplier comes under the spotlight in the chapter written by Rob Rose, in which he describes that body as a “shadowy company”. Rose presently works in the business investigations unit at The Sunday Times.

A Who’s-Who of Investigative Journalism

The collective authors of the report represent some of the finest people in investigative journalism in South Africa, and reads like a Who’s-Who of the field: Eddie Botha is the investigations editor of the Daily Dispatch; Stefaans Brümmer co-founded the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism; Gcina Ntsaluba was an investigative journalist and reporter for the Daily Dispatch in East London at the time of writing his chapter; Karen Schoonbee is a freelance television journalist, who worked for an array of broadcasters and shows locally and abroad, including Special Assignment, Carte Blanche and Third Degree; Collette Schulz Herzenberg is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Cape Town, focusing on corruption and governance issues; Stephen ‘Sam’ Sole worked as a journalist for the investigative magazine Noseweek and then as political editor of the Sunday Tribune before joining the Mail & Guardian as an investigative journalist in 2002.

Download for Free

The full report is freely available for online reading (using Adobe Acrobat Reader) and you are also able to download either the entire document or individual chapters in PDF format for offline reading. Links are below:

Reactions are Expected to be Muted

I doubt that there’ll be any official reaction to the report from the people and organisations involved, but I’d be very interested in the comments, thoughts and opinions of BlaBlanians who take the time…


  1. Add to this the current DEBT CRISIS in GREECE following the OLYMPIC GAMES, the ex security gaurd now a major shareholder as a BEE partner for the company running the SOCCER CITY stadium management and the list of WRONGS just gets worse….

    • Too many wrongs to make things right I fear.

  2. Will read with much interest…have been thinking though that surely one of the biggest scandals in the new SA has to be the decline of football – how can a country with so much raw talent and where so much money has been pumped into the game be going backwards so badly? Where has the money gone – guess we know…

    • Hi 3G, and welcome to The BlaBla Blog!

      I've been dipping into the document on and off all day, and it really makes for some excellent reading throughout.

      Don't think there's any easy answers to your question sadly. Corruption, tender rigging, and waste spending in the wrong places all seem to have contributed to draw the focus away from the players and their performance improvement it seems.

  3. Most people believe that the champion this year will be European, but they forget they are playing in Africa and the soccer in this region has been rising.

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