It is a sad state of affairs that the South African government has not seen it fit to intervene once they were told that the country was withdrawing its bid for the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2027.
Safa’s bid committee had by this time campaigned extensively and presented a compelling case for the 2027 Women’s World Cup bid.
The bid seemed to be on a winning trajectory after the euphoria generated recently by the performance of Banyana Banyana at the Women’s World Cup a few months ago.
Safa has yet to offer greater clarification on the exact reasons for pulling out, but so much can be read into their explanation that it does not see its way clear to produce a “rushed presentation”.
Capable bid committee
Safa, with 2006 and 2010 World Cup heavyweight campaigners at the helm, had assembled a capable bid committee that was led by chairperson Tumi Dlamini, who gained vast experience as a member of the 2010 Local Organising Committee.
There are several other capable members, like veteran administrator Russell Paul who was part of the organisational team for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
He served as the tournament’s chief operating officer.
Then there is also CAF vice-president Kanizat Ibrahim, Fifa council member Isha Johansen and Safa vice-president Anastasia Tsichlas serving as bid committee members.
Moreover, the bid committee had met all the Fifa requirements in the bidding process to host a World Cup.
In April, Safa, as a Fifa member association, submitted its expressions of interest to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
In May, Safa timeously confirmed their interest in bidding by submitting the bidding agreement.
The next deadline was December 8, when member associations had to submit their bids to Fifa.
A major part of this submission was reliant on government input in respect of guarantees for various aspects such as specially assigned tax exemptions, work permits and visa procedures.
Up to now, the government, through Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, has publicly supported the bid.
The bid committee has had many briefing sessions and made presentations to the Cabinet and different departments to ensure that the government was fully aware of what was required.
It now appears that the government has not been able to supply timely information and assurances that the bid committee needed to finalise their formal bid. It is a shame that the government has once again failed South African sport.
The next time South African sport celebrates a major achievement like winning a World Cup, rank opportunists like President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kodwa must be kept far away from the presentation arena.
* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.
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