South Africa issues final report on 2010 World Cup

South Africa spent more than 27 billion rand ($3 billion) on the

2010 World Cup, and in return gained an ”intangible legacy” from

the first world football showpiece in Africa, the country’s

government said Friday in its final report on the tournament.

In the ”2010 FIFA World Cup Country Report,” released nearly 2

1/2 years after the event, South Africa’s government said it spent

$1.1 billion on building and upgrading stadiums alone.

Transport was the biggest cost, with $1.3 billion dedicated to

improving road, rail and air links and a further $392 million on

the country’s main ports of entry.

In the absence yet of any final definitive figures on how much

South Africa earned in total from being the host, the report said

the World Cup had left an intangible legacy of pride and unity

among South Africans and had changed the country’s image as

undeveloped, crime-ridden and dangerous in the eyes of the rest of

the world.

”To top it all, we didn’t have lions roaming the streets and we

did have ATMs,” the report, published by the ministry of sport,

added light-heartedly.

It did predict a $6 billion boost to South Africa’s economy as a

result of the monthlong World Cup, according to a study by risk

analysis and finance company Grant Thornton, but that was a mid to

long-term projection.

FIFA reported it made a $631 million profit from the 2007-10

World Cup cycle and earned income of $3.65 billion from 2010 World

Cup contracts. FIFA said it spent $1.298 billion on the World Cup

in South Africa and also gave $100 million to the World Cup Legacy

Trust, a fund that supports grassroots football projects.

”The World Cup in South Africa was a huge, huge financial

success for Africa, for South Africa and for FIFA,” FIFA president

Sepp Blatter said in 2011 as the world body published its own

financial report.

While critics have said that such a huge outlay on a 30-day

sports event was impractical for South Africa – and the final word

on whether it was an economic success was still pending – the

government could argue that it had already earned over $400 million

from the more than 300,000 tourists that visited for the World

Cup.

The upgrade to much of South Africa’s transport infrastructure

was a long-term investment, the government said.

The expensive World Cup stadiums are still underused, however,

and some are losing money. The Cape Town Stadium – reportedly the

most expensive of the seven new venues at $600 million – is in the

most trouble.

”This report will also serve as a reference guide and benchmark

for planning other major sporting events,” South Africa’s

government said in a statement to introduce the publication, which

featured the 2010 World Cup logo and was embossed with shiny gold

letters.

South Africa has said it is considering a bid to host the 2024

Summer Olympics, the biggest of all sporting events.