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Published on 12 May 2011

FIFA Barometer 2 - Argentina 4 - South Korea 1 - Joburg 100% - FIFA 0%
22 Jun 2010

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In what was probably the most exciting game of the tournament so far with Argentina dazzling the crowd, it was the effort of the City that astounded me out of my socks and made me burst with pride. I attended the game with my two children and I was most impressed by:

"¢ The fact that within an hour of leaving my home in Emmerentia, Joburg, we were in the stadium at Soccer City. And it was so simple: we drove to the nearest Rea Vaya bus station, parked and relaxed while being driven to the stadium.
"¢ The fact that within an hour and 10 minutes after the final whistle we were safely back home - again courtesy of the Rea Vaya transport system.

The stadium itself is the best I have seen (inclusive of the Sydney and Bejing Olympics stadia) with easy access and exits.

The experience was first class all the way. Everybody was superb: from the people who sold the tickets, to the bus following the quick dedicated route to and from the stadium and the metro police at the stadium. It made me proud indeed to be a South African and a Joburger.

I was not impressed by FIFA. It left a sour taste in my mouth that:
* Since we arrived at the stadium much earlier than we anticipated and we had time to carefully look around the stadium to find that from the moment we stepped off the bus, the branding was practically exclusively FIFA, FIFA and FIFA once again. You are left under no illusion that you are at a FIFA event.
* The poor sponsors were only allowed a 36 m² tent or assembled structures to advertise themselves and that was it! My heart really went out to them.
* The FIFA tent selling the branded goodies was twice that size. What a shame and what an utter disgrace that the sponsors, who, according to FIFA, is making the tournament possible, are treated like small time street vendors at an event for which they footed the bill by forking out billions of dollars in sponsorship fees.
* Even inside the stadium - there were only small electronic advertisements next to the touchlines that indicated that there were sponsors involved at all. Any other possible advertising space, from the stadium pillars to the veranda balustrades, was all FIFA, FIFA and FIFA!

Any company director who decides to become a sponsor for the FIFA World Cup is trading recklessly with the assets of his company. This I say as a fully qualified lawyer and admitted advocate. No company can justify the sponsorship money in return for the poor exposure it was allowed at this event. If our national pride were not at stake in this World Cup, I would have lobbied for a class action against the listed companies who sponsored the event.

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