Africa's place in the international football system : why South Africa received the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Muller, Mark-Marcel (2007-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: For millions of people around the globe, football is an important part of every-day life. Similarly, many African governments have found in international football competitions one of the few opportunities to be internationally represented. Furthermore, through successful participation of their respective national football sides, they internally seek to foster nationhood. In fact, football is an integral part of African self-esteem with regards to being recognised by the rest of the world. However, to succeed in international sports means to succeed in a politico-economic structure far from equality and general solidarity. This thesis goes about the question why South Africa received the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Thereby it will distinguish the position of the African continent within the international football system. This mega sport event which takes place every four years receives global attention. For a nation to be chosen by the world football body FIFA to host this event elevates a nation to an equal participant in the international community. Particularly because hosting this event is widely demanded by governments, it was of immense significance that Africa, a continent with the stigma of being backward and 'underdeveloped', was named as a FIFA World Cup host for 2010. Thus, what this thesis needs to answer is how Africa overcame the stigma of backwardness. This regards the system of international football which is itself embedded within the general system of international social interaction. Thus, this thesis is to make clear the variables of the international football system in association with the overarching social system. A historical analysis will clarify the processes and actors as well as the driving motivations which led to the FIFA World Cup host decision in favour of the African continent. The outcome of this study suggests that social interaction is driven by the interplay of two variables: normative principles and economic practices. The historical development of modem social behaviour from the 161 h century until today's global capitalism surely reflects the interplay of these two traits. At the hand of the historical development of the international football system this thesis is going to outline this interplay as a European form of behaviour that came to encapsulate all social relations on the globe particularly by the spread of the cultural practice of football. This study reaches the overall conclusion that the decision to let an African nation host the FIFA World Cup meant that economic practice and normative principles were brought into perceived congruence. At the specific moment in time the decision was made, FIFA diplomacy came to recapture its character of a body that acts 'fair' and 'for the good of the game'. However, this outcome came about by mediation between clashing self-interests, with South Africa being able to finally succeed. Importantly, this appeasement was a success by the African continent as a whole only in symbolic terms. In economic terms, it was a South African achievement and, thus, the expression of South Africa's self-interest. Obviously, football is an important element in the submission and general acceptance of the dialectic value-system from which social orders and hierarchies are derived and by which they are maintained in our capitalist (and global) world-economy.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Vir miljoene mense regoor die wereld is sokker 'n belangrike deel van hulle allegdaagse lewe. Terselfdertyd verleen suksesvolle deelname deur hulle nasionale spanne 'n geleentheid vir die vestiging van 'n gevoel van nasionale identiteit. Sokker is veral vir Afrika-state 'n integrale deel van hulle self-handhawing. Maar om suksesvol· te wees in intemasionale sport, vereis ook sukses in politieke en ekonomiese strukture wat nie gekenmerk word deur gelykheid en algemene solidariteit nie. Hierdie tesis vra die vraag: hoekom het Suid-Afrika die reg verower om die 2010 FIFA Wereldbeker aan te bi ed.? Die massiewe sport gebeurtenis wat elke vier jaar plaasvind · geniet ongekende wereldwye belangstelling. Wanneer 'n staat deur die wereld sokkerliggaam FIFA gekies word om 'n wereldbeker aan te bied, word· daardie staat geag 'n gelyke deelnemer in die wereldgemeenskap te wees. Gegewe die feit dat die Afrika-kontinent die stigma van 'agterlikheid' en 'onderontwikkeldheid' dra, is die aanbied van die 2010 wereldbeker in Afrika van enorme belang. Wat die tesis dus vra, is hoe het Afrika hierdie stigma van agterlikheid te bowe gekom veral in die lig van die feit dat die stelsel van intemasionale sokker gewortel is in die groter stelsel van intemasionale sosiale interaksie. Hierdie tesis verklaar die belangrikste faktore in die grotere sosiale sisteem wat die rangorde van die intemasionale sokkerstelsel bepaal. 'n Historiese ontleding verklaar die prosesse en akteurs asook die dryfkragte wat daartoe gelei het, dat die FIFA Wereldbeker toegeken is aan 'n Afrika-gasheer staat. Hierdie studie bevind dat sosiale interaksie gedryf word deur twee faktore, nl. normatiewe beginsels en ekonomiese gebruike. Die historiese ontwikkeling van modeme sosiale gedrag sedert die 16de eeu tot vandag se kapitalistiese stelsel weerspieel duidelik hierdie twee faktore. Hierdie tesis verduidelik dat die twee faktore sentraal staan tot die historiese ontwikkeling van die intemasionale sokker stelsel wat as 'n aanvanklike Europese spel 'n universele kulturele praktyk geword het. Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die besluit om 'n Afrika-staat as gasheer te kies, genoop is deur die persepsie dat die ekonomiese oorwegings en normatiewe beginsels waarop FIFA gebou is, weer-eens nader aan mekaar gebring moet word. Die besluit is gebasseer op die veronderstelling dat FIFA sy karakter moet herbevestig as 'n instelling wat beide 'regverdig' en 'ter wille van die spel' optree. Hierdie uitkoms was egter 'n soort kompromie weens botsende belange waardeur Suid-Afrika eindelik kon seevier. Wat belangrik is, is dat hierdie bevrediging as 'n soort Afrika-wye sukses slegs in simboliese terme beskou kan word. In ekonomiese terme was dit 'n Suid-Afrikaanse prestasie en dus eindelik 'n manifestasie van Suid-Afrikaanse eie-belang. Uit die aard van die saak, is sokker 'n belangrike element in die toekenning en algemene aanvaarding van die dialektiese waarde-stelsel waardeur sosiale ordes en hierargiee onstaan en in ons kapitalistiese (en globale) wereld-ekonomie in stand gehou word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/70095
This item appears in the following collections: