Thursday, April 12, 2007

Colombia Withdraws from World Cup Race

Sources: Bloomberg News, Colombia Quits Race for 2014 World Cup; International Herald Tribune, FIFA Inspectors Reject Proposed Chilean Stadiums for World Cup Qualifiers; South African Football Association, No Financial Worries About 2010 World Cup Says Mbeki.

Colombia withdrew its bid to host the 2014 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup on April 11, leaving Brazil as the only South American nation with an outstanding bid. President Uribe had vowed to provide the financial resources necessary to fund the event, but the Colombian Football Association ultimately decided against proceeding with the bid. Many involved in the decision expressed concern over the government’s ability to develop the infrastructure necessary to stage the event successfully.

According to FIFA regulations, Colombia would have been required to update its existing stadium facilities and build additional stadiums. Currently, it only has two stadiums that accommodate over forty-thousand spectators. Updates and construction can be very expensive. For example, the South African government, whose country is set to host the World Cup in 2010, has budgeted over $770 million for stadium, public-transportation, and airport renovations.

Colombia has heard these concerns before; both financial and security considerations caused the nation to withdraw its World Cup bid in 1986. FIFA has announced that the 2014 match will be held in South America, but other South American nations are likely to face the same problems as Colombia. In fact, Chile recently proposed using two of its larger stadiums in the qualifying matches for the 2010 South African World Cup, but FIFA rejected both of those venues, believing that the quality of the fields was too poor.

Questions:

(1) Beyond the financial realm, what are some of the benefits to hosting the World Cup for developing countries? What are some of the drawbacks?

(2) Should governments in developing countries invest the nations’ financial resources in hosting world-wide sporting events? What are some alternative sources of funding? Are those more desirable?

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