Down With Cape Town’s Expensive And Elite Football Tournament By Cheryl Roberts

18 Jun

The hosting of an expensive football tournament in Cape Town during July, by the DA-administered City of Cape Town must be condemned, not only by supporters and fans of the beautiful game, but also by citizens of the city.


How do city administration officials  explain spending R35 million of a city’s budget on a sports event involving rich, moneyed professional football clubs? And, just how do you argue in favour of this event for boosting tourism, when Cape Town sells itself as a premier tourist city? Ticket prices are outrageous prices, selling between R200-R400.

Firstly, the expenses associated with this event are condemned. Secondly, the fact that only one football team from Cape Town is invited to this tournament and that football team is Ajax, a rich club owned by white people must also be challenged.

This event has been organized by a city administration which has an atrocious record of organising big money football events. Previous international events like the under 20 men’s international didn’t get much support from football fans with matches being played in empty stadiums with a few thousand fans.

Now the city’s tourism and event officials have come up with another football event; another very expensive pre-season football extravaganza costing millions of rands and catering for only one professional club in Cape Town.

Football is a people’s game in South Africa; it is rooted in working class communities. In Cape Town, football is played largely by working class schools and in disadvantaged communities; the very working class neighbourhoods and schools which the DA city of Cape Town deprives of resources and healthy living amenities.

Cape Town is struggling to get another team playing in the PSL. Why does this tournament not be a top 16, involving semi-pro teams and NFD teams? Why must R35 million be spent on one club in Cape Town and other clubs outside of Africa? And why does the city ignore top African clubs, Zamalek and Al Alhy of Egypt?

The city of Cape Town wants to use the people’s sport to promote tourism for the city; this is tourism which mainly benefits the privileged white tourist operators and white businesses in the city.

It’s correct that football fans and enthusiasts love to see the world’s best and legendary football teams play live football. The city of Cape Town would like people to believe that it is hosting a football event for people to be entertained in sport. This is not what is honestly being done.

Ticket sales will be expensive, out of reach of cash-stricken working class football fans. By hosting such a tournament in Cape Town, just one club and a few elite players benefit, whilst the city’s very competitive NFD teams, whom all battle throughout the league season to win PSL promotion, are left out of this expensive and moneyed sports event which actually should be hosted for the city’s people.

Ownership and management of most professional football clubs throughout the world are about using football to make money and increase profits. People and player needs are not as important as making money for the owners. These pro clubs will come into Cape Town, get five star and more glamour treatment, see some game reserve, play some holiday football, then leave the city with lots of money, whilst Cape Town’s working class-based football clubs and teams will be left to struggle for football boots, shin guards, playing kit, transport money to matches.

There’s no doubt that this elite football challenge is not being organized for football but to grow tourism in Cape Town which always benefits white people and their businesses. This event is not being staged to grow football in Cape Town. Rather it’s being staged to cause bitterness, disappointed and unhappiness amongst football clubs, supporters, officials and football fans.

If the city’s administration goes ahead with this football event, the only way it can say its being done for ‘the people’ is to allow open stadiums to all working class footballers and football supporters. It’s already a negative against the city for using millions on an elite sports event. It will be despicable and horrendous if the city of Cape Town insists on gating the event with entrance limited to ticket buyers.

But then again, the DA-administered city of Cape Town does not exist for ‘the people’ but for the privileged, elite and middle class residents of Cape Town and for European tourists, not people from African countries. How can we expect such an administration to understand and commit to developing people’s sport?

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