Opinion: Hosting The World Cup Is A Waste Of Money

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Some people who have studied the value of international sporting events to a country’s economy say it’s amazing that government officials around the world put their necks on the line hosting events that don’t deliver the benefits they promise.

Others say you can’t put a price on the pride and unity building that comes with hosting a tournament like the World Cup. Such events rally a city or country around a common goal and create support for spending money on much needed infrastructure such as roads and trains.

At least that’s what you hear from supporters of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics, says WashingtonPost blogger Max Ehrenfreund.

Ehrenfreund questions why any country is bidding for the World Cup at all. It appears to be a waste of resources, he says.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter resigned from the world governing body of soccer and will step down after his successor is chosen, CNN reports.

FIFA came under intense scrutiny after U.S. prosecutors alleged widespread corruption in the organization. Blatter stepped down after a key lieutenant was linked in reports to an alleged $10-million bribe intended to gain support for South Africa’s 2010 World Cup bid, Ehrenfreund said.

Much of Brazil’s population was up in arms over the finances behind hosting one of the world’s largest sporting events, LatinoFoxNews reported in 2014. The Brazil 2014 World Cup was the most expensive one yet, with the final price tag hovering around $15 billion.

Brazil spent more than $3.6 billion on 12 new and renovated stadiums. By comparison, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa cost a total of $3.9 billion with $1.3 billion in stadium construction work, Fox reported.

Thomas Peeters of the Erasmus School of Economics in Rotterdam published a paper in 2014 on the effect of the World Cup on South Africa’s economy. He and two other experts in financial aspects of international sports concluded that the increase in tourism in South Africa wasn’t worth building the stadiums for the tournament, Ehrenfreund said.

The 2010 World Cup brought an additional 300,000 additional tourist to South Africa, but they would have had to spend $13,000 each while there for the tournament to have been worthwhile.

Most of South Africa’s stadiums are no longer in use, and some have been demolished.