Commentators who say that the 2010 World Cup will be a fiasco are ungenerous and wrongby David Goldblatt / September 23, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
England have qualified in style for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but there are no shortage of Cassandras predicting that the tournament itself will be a disaster. One throws a longer and gaunter shadow than the rest: the west London oracle, that venerable sports journalist Brian Glanville. Consistent and relentless, he opposed South Africa before Fifa awarded it hosting rights in 2004, after they won their bid, and at every step since. As the opening game approaches his tone rises to a new pitch of rhetorical fury. His pronouncement in the August issue of World Soccer magazine simply heralded the “impending chaos to come.”
Reading the entrails of this summer’s Fifa Confederations Cup—held in South Africa, and a kind of small-scale dry run for the World Cup—and adding his own special bile, his case against South Africa comes down to four things. First, the stadiums have soared in cost, and will leave a legacy of white elephants. Second, transport links between the cities are poor. Third, hotel space is limited. Fourth, there is a lot of crime.