The politics of bidding and the politics of planning : a comparison of the FIFA World Cup in Germany and South Africa

Kachkova, Anna (2008-12)

Thesis (MA (Political Science))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This study focuses on the bidding for sports mega-events, their subsequent planning, and the politics surrounding these processes. The specific examples analysed here are those of the FIFA Football World Cup™ in Germany in 2006, and the forthcoming 2010 World Cup to be hosted by South Africa. The events are examined against a backdrop of increasing competition to host mega-events, spurred on by a widespread belief in the economic benefits that result from hosting, with a frequent disregard for the social and economic costs involved. Four central research questions are addressed in the course of this thesis. The first is the role of corporate actors and their influence on mega-events, the second is the question of what processes characterise both the bidding and planning stages of an event, including the main actors, agendas and discourses involved in both of these stages. Thirdly, the significance of hosting the World Cup in both the German and South African case is examined, and fourthly, the long-term implications of South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup, both for the country itself and for developing nations more broadly, is considered. The research methodology used for this thesis is predominately qualitative, and utilises mostly secondary sources, including books, academic articles, press articles, and information off the official websites of the football organisations involved. The main findings of this thesis are that while both countries in question had seemingly compelling reasons for hosting the World Cup, and while benefits can stem from the event, the longevity of such benefits is questionable, and the costs involved can be especially heavy in a developing context such as that of South Africa. Furthermore, those that stand to benefit the most from the events include transnational corporate actors, with the implication that significant financial gains never reach the host economy. Nevertheless, an ever-increasing willingness on the part of numerous nations to host mega-events means that the German and South African cases can provide lessons for future hosts, and South Africa’s World Cup has particular significance as a test case for mega-events hosted by developing nations. Finally, this thesis stresses the need for further research in this field. It also aims to break some new ground by examining the commonalities and contrasts to be found in the bidding and planning processes of a mega-event as carried out by a developed and a developing nation.

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