Monday, April 23, 2007

World Cup 2010 - team camps and prostitution zones

The preparations for World Cup 2010 are steaming ahead with a number of interesting decisions being made.

Top of the list is a rule that will prevent visiting teams from staying in any of the nine host cities.

The official line behind this is a desire to "spread the benefits beyond the nine host cities" however it might also have something to do with a lack of beds in these cities. Two weeks ago South Africa asked FIFA to allow teams to setup base camps in neighboring countries. They again said they wanted to spread the joy of the games, but added that having teams away from the main cities spreads the demand for shelter amongst fans. With all the other demands they need to work out, taking hotel rooms off the list would be huge.

On a different note, it is interesting to note that the US partly blamed their 1998 results on having a base camp far away from the festivities. They changed that in 2002, which went swell, but 2006 was a different story.

Another idea the South Africans are pursuing is an increase in fan parks as they would like 'every local municipality', not just the host cities, to have such parks. They would also like to see parks in other African countries as well as in the Caribbean "where there are great numbers of Africans, so they can also see and take pride in what is taking place in South Africa". Any addition parks would need to be approved by FIFA.

Finally, the New York Times gives a good rundown of all the issues South Africa is facing in their race to be ready for 2010. Everything from hotel space to stadiums to a lack of good public transportation to training more police in order to decrease the unbelievable crime rate is on tap. However, there is one subject that is bound to get a lot of talk as police commissioner Jackie Selebi's has proposed to set up "... dedicated red-light districts where prostitution and public drinking would be tolerated during the World Cup, as he said they were in Germany."

It is true that Germany allows prostitution, however it is strongly regulated by the government (not that that means it is a great idea). However, with South Africa also facing an AIDS epidemic, increasing the availability of sex might not be the best move.

One other tidbit from the article that could become very important is that the staging time for the construction is so tight "that even a three-week rain delay could wreak havoc." If the stadiums don't keep moving forward, FIFA won't care much about everything else.

By the way, here is the list of host cities, just in case you are wondering:
Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Rustenburg

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