Spin-offs for win­ning bid to host RWC

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Ka­belo Khu­malo

SOUTH Africa’s econ­omy stands to re­ceive a wind­fall of R27 bil­lion should the coun­try’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup be suc­cess­ful, after the gov­ern­ment gave SA Rugby Union (Saru) the green light to pro­ceed with bid­ding for the rights to host the month-long event.

The coun­try last hosted the show­piece in 1995.

The an­nounce­ment by cab­i­net last week that it had ap­proved the re­quest for guar­an­tees to the value of R2.7bn, which was re­quired from World Rugby as a pre­req­ui­site in host­ing the event, was wel­comed by the sports and tourism fra­ter­ni­ties.

Jurie Roux, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Saru, said on Fri­day that it would be a mar­vel­lous, inspirational na­tion-build­ing mo­ment to re­cap­ture some of the ex­cite­ment of 1995, but it would also have enor­mous prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits for our coun­try.

“Host­ing the Rugby World Cup in 2023 would have an R27bn di­rect, in­di­rect and in­duced eco­nomic im­pact on South Africa; R5.7bn would flow to low-in­come house­holds; 38 600 tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent jobs would be sus­tained and there’d be an es­ti­mated R1.4bn tax ben­e­fit to the gov­ern­ment,” Roux said.

Cab­i­net’s ap­provals brought cer­tainly in the in­dus­try after the pre­vi­ous sports min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula had ini­tially re­voked rugby’s priv­i­lege of “host­ing and bid­ding for ma­jor and mega in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments in South Africa” as a “con­se­quence of not meet­ing their own set transformation tar­gets”.

He had based the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion to sanc­tion rugby on a re­port from the Em­i­nent Per­sons Group (EPG) on sports transformation.

De­spite Mbalula’s then lack of sup­port, Saru went ahead and sub­mit­ted its bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup any­way.

Mbalula later changed his mind and gave his sup­port to the bid, a sup­port which was rub­ber-stamped by his suc­ces­sor Thu­las Nx­esi. Nx­esi said host­ing the tour­na­ment would have ma­jor spin-offs for the ail­ing South African econ­omy.

“Cab­i­net has ap­proved the over­all pro­posed pack­age for this tour­na­ment, which is an eco­nomic bid, which would min­imise the de­mands on the fis­cus as well as stim­u­late eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, em­ploy­ment and em­pow­er­ment.

“The tour­na­ment will con­trib­ute to stim­u­lat­ing our econ­omy by sup­port­ing gov­ern­ment pri­or­i­ties, es­pe­cially as it re­lates to pref­er­en­tial pro­cure­ment and ad­her­ence to the Sports Transformation Char­ter and the shar­ing of the prof­its de­rived. The event will fur­ther boost our

R5.7bn would flow to low-in­come house­holds

tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor,” Nx­esi said.

If the coun­try gets the nod, ahead of France and Ire­land, to rugby’s cul­mi­nate show­piece, it would mark a sec­ond ma­jor sport­ing event the coun­try hosts in seven years after the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup.

A KPMG anal­y­sis in the wake of the 2010 Fifa World Cup showed the event had pumped an es­ti­mated R93bn into the lo­cal econ­omy, re-branded South Africa and cre­ated a favourable cli­mate for di­rect for­eign in­vest­ment and tourism growth.

Tech­ni­cally strong

The African Re­sponse re­search showed that 96 per­cent of the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup visi­tors to South Africa said that they would pos­si­bly re­turn to the coun­try, while 92 per­cent said they would rec­om­mend the coun­try to friends and fam­ily as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion.

How­ever, on Fri­day trade union fed­er­a­tion Cosatu said host­ing the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup was not prof­itable for the coun­try and be­lieved the same would hold true for the Rugby World Cup.

“The coun­try is yet to hon­estly quan­tify the ben­e­fits of host­ing the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup that turned out to be noth­ing, but a fes­ti­val of loot­ing and cheat­ing. That tour­na­ment was fol­lowed by the long­est pub­lic ser­vice strike when work­ers were told that there was no money to pay for their salary ad­just­ments,” Cosatu said.

Saru has pre­vi­ously bid un­suc­cess­fully for 2011, 2015 and 2019 cups.

Mark Alexan­der, the pres­i­dent of Saru, said he was con­vinced at the fourth time of ask­ing South Africa had pro­duced on an unar­guable case: “We believe our bid is tech­ni­cally the strong­est of the three, with our world-class venues and train­ing fa­cil­i­ties, tourism in­fra­struc­ture and won­der­ful cli­mate.

“We will max­imise the com­mer­cial ben­e­fit for World Rugby with a low-cost, high-re­turn event in a coun­try that has the in­fra­struc­ture and ma­jor event ex­pe­ri­ence to turn on a colossal event with 2.9 mil­lion match tick­ets avail­able for the show­piece,” Alexan­der said.

The suc­cess­ful coun­try would have to pay World Rugby a tour­na­ment host­ing fee of $150m (R2bn). World Rugby will an­nounce the host na­tion for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Novem­ber.

PHOTO: BACKPAGEPIX

Cosatu says hold­ing World Cup Rugby will not ben­e­fit the coun­try and fol­low in the foot­steps of the soc­cer World Cup which was ‘a fes­ti­val of loot­ing and cheat­ing’, yet oth­ers believe it will up­lift the na­tion and boost the econ­omy.

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