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Resident Perceptions of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Stadia Development in Cape Town


Dr Kamilla Swart (Cape Peninsula University of Technology)

Prof Urmilla Bob (University of KwaZulu-Natal-Westville Campus)


The  Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA) World Cup to be hosted in South Africa in 2010 is expected to provide an opportunity to further the country’s objectives of using sporting events to signal international recognition and promote socio-economic development. Swart and Bob (forthcoming) highlight that mega sport events have increasingly become highly sought after commodities for both developed and some developing countries (including South Africa) as they move towards event-driven economies. One of the tangible, long-term legacies associated with hosting the FIFA World Cup is the potential infrastructural benefits. In particular stadia development (both upgrading of existing stadia and new stadia) are key features of South Africa’s 2010 sport infrastructural improvement and expansion programme. This is also the case in Cape Town.

The 2010 World Cup Tournament is the single biggest catalyst that will help trigger major infrastructure investments in Cape Town.

(City of Cape Town 2007: 1)

Linked to infrastructure development and investments associated with 2010 is the anticipated outcome that infrastructure-led economic growth must promote job creation (Helen Zille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town cited in City of Cape Town 2007). Chalip (2006) indicates that despite the predominant policy focus on event economic impact, event organisers and host community residents are calling for attention to be paid to the social value of events.

Swart and Bob (2007) argue that with a few exceptions (generally in the form of letters to the editor), the actual voices of local residents are absent in relation to debates pertaining to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They further assert that often the concerns of residents are raised by politicians, civil society organisation leaders and government officials who claim to be speaking of their behalf or serving their interests. This article therefore undertakes an analysis of primary data that was collected in Athlone and Green Point to examine the perceptions of the residents towards the proposed stadia development. Perceptions regarding the potential impacts (both positive and negative) of the 2010 World Cup are also examined.


Swart and Bob (2007) state that the developmental agenda of hosting 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa has foregrounded the need to integrate social issues at the local level. However, several researchers raise concerns about how this will be achieved and who specifically are likely to experience tangible and long-lasting benefits (Cornelissen & Swart, 2006; Swart & Bob, 2004). Ohmann, Jones and Wilkes (2006) highlight that all sporting events have, albeit differentially, impacts upon the community within which they are held. Ritchie and Adair (2004) indicate that event research has tended to neglect local community perceptions and concerns. Ohmann et al. (2006) further assert that generally research regarding the impacts of sport events on host communities has focused predominantly on measuring economic effects.

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