FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and South African President Jacob Zuma pulled the curtain down on the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ today following the final board meeting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee in Johannesburg. At a press conference in Soccer City, Blatter praised South Africa for “outstanding work” in organising the world’s showpiece football event between June and July this summer. He also announced the launch of a post-2010 FIFA World Cup Trust Fund that will benefit the ‘Rainbow Nation’ and ensure a sustainable legacy after the World Cup.
“This is a great day for FIFA,” Blatter said. “It’s a great day for international football, a great day for Africa and for South Africa. Today, you see a happy president. I’m proud. This is not the end of the spirit of this World Cup, what we are doing is merely closing the organising committee. There is a legacy for this World Cup in Africa. We trusted South Africa, and they gained confidence. The results are there; they are wonderful for anyone to see. When South Africa was awarded the hosting of the 2010 World Cup in 2004, it was a young democracy, but today they are recognised everywhere for their competency, their strong economy and the achievements they have made. South Africa has showed to the world and to the FIFA Executive that the World Cup must go to new territories.”
FIFA’s legacy for South Africa of the 2010 FIFA World Cup amounts to US$100 million. About US$20 million of that amount was given to the South African Football Association (SAFA) in the build-up to the tournament and for the construction of the towering SAFA House – the association’s headquarters next to Soccer City. The remaining US$80 million will be allocated to support a variety of programmes within South Africa, including football development, education, health and will also play a role in humanitarian initiatives. The trust will be administered by Ernst and Young with the trustees consisting of representatives from FIFA and SAFA as well Professor Michael Katz from the private sector and South Africa’s newly elected Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, representing the government.
The FIFA President added: “I would like to thank the government, the volunteers and the population of Africa. When I arrived back in South Africa, I saw excited people shouting, ‘welcome back, welcome back’. This to me shows that the spirit of the World Cup is still alive in this country. Now we go to the East of Europe to Russia where the World Cup has never been. Later on, we go to the Middle East. The World Cup must go to where it can improve social conditions and make a difference. From the South African tourism minister, we learned that over 300,000 people came to South Africa for the World Cup. This, in turn, has been a major boost for the South African economy.”
A legacy and a special gift
President Zuma thanked the FIFA President for his continued support during and before the hosting of the event. “Today, we are officially closing one of the major highlights and success stories of our country,” he said. “We are doing so on a high note. This has enabled us to look back to 2010 as the coming of age of our nation, spurred by the passion of our people and the support of our former presidents, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.
“Being a developing country, we wanted the tournament to be more than just football but a continental showpiece that was owned by all Africans. We have achieved our goals with regards to hosting the World Cup. By embracing education, we are investing in the future of our youth. I’m happy to note that the FIFA President shares the same passion for education. Education will ensure the sustainability of the legacy of the World Cup. The benefits of hosting the World Cup have been enormous. We proved to the rest of the world that we have capacity to deliver. The World Cup also underlined the need for us to invest in football development in order to build world class football teams.”
FIFA has purchased the 32 Hyundai buses that were used by the participating teams during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and a fleet of vehicles. They will be directly given to the 52 SAFA regions throughout South Africa. When South Africa became the first African country to win the rights to host the competition in 2005, FIFA made a commitment that the tournament would not only benefit football but would leave a lasting legacy for the hosts as well as fellow African countries. Amongst those have been the ‘Win in Africa with Africa’ project, FIFA’s Football for Hope campaign aiming to build 20 Centres of Hope across the African continent and the Goal project. The FIFA President also presented the South African President with a unique souvenir that contains signatures and messages from all 32 participating teams about their wonderful memories and experiences during their stay in South Africa.