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SPORTS AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
11 AUGUST 2005
FRANCE STUDYTOUR REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out:
Draft Report of Committee studytour to France
The Committee discussed South Africa’s preparedness for hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Members discussed the recent studytour to France aimed at learning from France’s experience as host of the tournament in 1998. Members had learned in France, Korea, and Japan how to better deal with Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA) conditions, and gathered tips on providing proper accommodation and infrastructure.
The Committee also discussed the recommendations that had come from the oversight visit reports. These included the need to focus more on women’s sport, provide appropriate sports facilities for the disabled and to integrate participation by all schools in sporting events, regardless of income or race. The Committee formally adopted the recommendations.
Members were concerned that South African athletes needed to be more patriotic so that they played sports nationally rather than accepting more lucrative offers elsewhere. They also mentioned the comparatively low level of South African support for national teams, and the affordability of tickets.
The Chairperson said that South Africa was eager to learn from others and thus the Committee had gone on recent tours to France, Korea, and Japan. The delegations had learned from those countries’ experiences hosting large sporting events. The trips had aided Members in better planning for the 2010 World Cup. The Committee was also planning a similar trip to Germany.
The Chairperson said that the issue of mines being used as sports facilities had been raised at a previous meeting, and that the Minister for Mineral and Energy Affairs and the Minister for Sport should negotiate to have the mine facilities opened for this purpose. However, there was a significant lack of infrastructure around the mines and so communities were unable to transport players. Many good players and weightlifters had come from the mines.
The Municipal Infrastructure Grant had two main problems. One was that there were no private sports facilities mentioned in the Itegrated Development Plans (IDPs), which showed that sports were not regarded with high importance. The other issue was providing adequate facilities for squatters.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) agreed that municipalities did not prioritise sport in their IDPs and that sport should move to a higher priority.
The Chairperson said that in every town the Committee had visited, there was a problem of Model C schools that did not integrate with any other schools for sport and instead only played among themselves. He expressed concern that this went against nation-building. All schools should play each other regardless of the conditions of their sports facilities.
Mr Frolick agree that it was incorrect to have black schools only playing other black schools. The Chairperson should speak to the Department Minister about this problem.
The Chairperson said that the aim was to build non-racial sport in a non-racial country. He also expressed concern that women’s sport was not highly regarded. ‘Patriarchal thinking’ existed at all levels of sports and women were often on the periphery. More sports facilities for the disabled should also be built.
Mr L Reid (ANC) asked if a separate discussion was needed on this topic. The Chairperson agreed, but said that the country as a whole should engage in the discussion. Equity and transformation in sport had to be better co-ordinated among sports councils so that they knew their roles in the process. The Committee recommendations addressed the issues of women in sport and facilities for the disabled. These recommendations would be binding on the Department if they were passed by Parliament. The Committee then adopted the recommendations.
The Chairperson then discussed the Committee study tour to Paris of 1-10 June 2005, and distributed the Draft Report of that visit. He gave an overview of the suggestions received from several French Ministers and leaders of sports-related organisations with whom the Committee had met, particularly on accommodation and transportation for visitors. Some areas of South Africa lacked appropriate accommodation, such as Limpopo.
The French had worked to develop their team six years in advance of the 1998 World Cup and they suggested South Africa seriously groom their team to avoid disappointment as the host country. The highlight of the trip was the 2010 World Cup briefing with the Vice-President of the French Parliament National Assembly. Several valuable recommendations had come out of that meeting, including that South Africa not agree to a blanket acceptance of FIFA’s rules. FIFA conditions included building 13 stadiums, certain marketing conditions such as not selling Coca-Cola products at events, and a stipulation that FIFA would receive all of the money from television rights. Another troublesome issue was that FIFA would bring their own wines to South Africa rather than buying local product. The delegation felt the visit was a success and it had better learned how to handle the 2010 Games.
The Chairperson said that the French also demonstrated the importance of patriotism, a value that should be more inculcated into South African athletes. About 80% of the French population of 60 million people were supporters of the national team. He wondered what percentage of South Africa’s 44 million people were supporters. A possible remedy was for the government to challenge big corporations to sponsor people who would not normally be able to afford tickets. He had noticed in Korea that many supporters were not wealthy.
Mr Reid expressed concern at the number of foreigners on South African teams and said that the country was not developing its own talent. She agreed that ticket prices should be made more affordable.
The Chairperson commented that half of the national team in France was actually not French, but mainly came from Francophone countries in Africa.
Ms D Morobi (ANC) said that in France, the government groomed athletes while they were still in school and that they regarded sport also a business. South Africa was behind France in this regard and she encouraged more legislation pertaining to professional sport.
The Chairperson said that South Africans had high expectations for the World Cup and that the Committee had to prioritise South African interests while planning it. He encouraged Members to re-read the Draft Resolution and make recommendations for the next meeting so it could be finalised soon.
The meeting was adjourned.
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