Book highlights World Cup procurement shortcomings

6 May 2010

6 May 2010 | Andy Allen

A publication has suggested a lack of transparency in purchasing procedures at the football World Cup in South Africa.

Player and Referee: Conflicting Interests and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, published by the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies, singles out stadium building, bidding practices and lack of government oversight as particular areas of concern.

In six case studies journalists highlight the potential for corruption that accompanies such a large sporting event.

According to the book, “there seems to have been very little in the form of competitive bidding” for lucrative stadium construction contracts.

It also highlights allegations of price-fixing in the steel industry that led to significant cost increases in the building of the arenas and other infrastructure.

The estimated taxpayer bill for stadiums, rail links and other projects has risen from $310 million (£206 million) to approximately $2.4 billion (£1.6 billion).

“The awarding of government tenders is often opaque and fraught with irregularities,” said the authors, stressing “the dearth of information” on the terms of the contracts being awarded, the merit of competing bidders and the reasons for a particular outcome or preferred bidder.

The book has also cast doubt on claims that black-owned businesses would benefit from World Cup contracts. In many instances where this has apparently been the case the book claims “black partners” have been drafted in to front bids but will in reality gain little from the contracts.

In March Citibank released an economic impact study which pointed out that FIFA stands to be the overwhelming financial beneficiary of the contest while South Africa bears the brunt of the costs.

SM is awaiting a response from the World Cup’s local organising committee.

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