Uncategorized — June 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

A Matter of “Fair Play” – The Voting Debacle of World Cup 2006


By: Gerard Robbins

It seemed to be a predictable matter. With Brazil pulling out it’s bid for World Cup 2006 to support South Africa, the only other main contender appeared to be Germany.  In the event of an even vote, FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter would cast the deciding vote (presumably for South Africa) and deliver the World Cup to the African continent for the first time in history . It was no secret that president Blatter supported South Africa as the 2006 host. Therefore South Africa winning the World Cup would be no real surprise. However as the world knows, a surprise did occur, presented in the personage of Charles Dempsey, president of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) who in abstaining (due to alledged “pressure”) left Germany with only one vote more than South Africa to become host of World Cup 2006.

Officials of the South African Football Association would present an argument for arbitration but FIFA would find no basis for to justify arbitration and would ultimately stand by the vote. However if anything positive has come about as a result of this incident is that FIFA has finally supported initiating a rotation system in 2010 which in theory should ensure that each continent has an equal chance of hostship. Subsequently, South Africa appears to have dropped it’s pursuit of Africa 2006 and directed it’s energies toward having FIFA ensure that it {South Africa) will be the premier benefactor of the rotation system.  The down side however is that it could be argued that the  implementation of a rotation system would negate the established voting rights of the national associations

La Cancha had an opportunity to interview Mr. Zola Dunywa, manager of the South Africa Soccer team prior to the above events. Although South African 2006 World Cup hopes appear to have been dashed, Mr. Dunywa’s comments are non the less poignant. He explains below some of the reasons why he believes World Cup 2006 could and should be held in Africa.

Exclusive Interview With Zola Dunywa

Zola Dunywa recently traveled with his South African National Soccer Team to the United States to participate in one of several international friendlies his team will play in preparation for World Cup 2002 eliminations. Like any other manager, Dunywa is as impassioned about his team as he is is country.

In this exclusive interview conducted prior to the recent voting debacle which occurred in Zurich Dunywa talks not only about what it would mean for South Africa to host the 2006 World Cup, but how his country’s hosting would impact on the entire continent of Africa. In a most eloquent fashion Dunywa explains why the granting of the World Cup 2006 to South Africa would serve a a shining example of FIFA’s principle of “Fair Play”

Q:What does it mean for South Africa to host the World Cup 2006 and what do think will be your country’s chance of having the opportunity to host WC2006?

A: Although presentations were made by several football countries we believe that we deserve to be the host. In terms of FIFA requirements we believe that we have not just met them but we have exceeded them. If FIFA could say we could host tomorrow we could do so. And we are not talking about hosting the games in stadiums that we are building now, but hosting the games in the stadia that exist in South Africa at the present moment. So we believe that we are ready now. Also we believe that our gain in South Africa is Africa’s gain. Our bid committee has decided that a percentage of the money that will be generated out of the excercise will go to a fund in Africa. That fund will assist in the development of sports in quite a number of countries with Africa. So it means that we have justified the call that it’s Africa’s call.

Q: What has taken FIFA so long in recognizing Africa as a potential candidate to host a World Cup?

A: Maybe FIFA though Africa was not ready. Maybe FIFA thought that we would not be in a position to host such a tournament of this magnitude. But I think we have convinced everybody. When the FIFA delegation visited the country they were surprised to what we have done. So it was not a matter of talking about the things that we are talking about doing but rather the things that are already there. A country that is hosting a World Cup at the end of the day benefits. If we are talking about considering FIFA’s concept of “Fair Play” then it would really be fair play to allow a confederation such as the CAF Confederation of Africa Football to get their chance to host as others have.

We are the only confederation that has not hosted a World Cup and it would be wonderful if FIFA could take that into consideration. Secondly it would be a wise thing to utilize the principal of upliftment or rather the improving the lives not only in South Africa but the whole of Africa as I have explained. If you take a World Cup to countries like England who are not short of anything and they’ve got everything it’s got no meaning. What I meant is that to take all of your money and invest it where there is already a lot of money what are you going to gain at the end of the day? But if the World Cup was done in our country, at the end of the day people would say FIFA has contributed to improving the life of an African through it’s providing of the World Cup to our country. That is our call, that is to say to us, FIFA will have fulfilled it’s principle of fairness in trying see that football will provide a better life for a better life for people. It’s not just something that starts in the field of training and ends in the field of play it goes further than that. It affects and improves human life. It brings hope and that is FIFA’s call and that is our call as well.

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