For the past couple years, the Republic of South Africa has been loudly proclaiming that the 2010 World Cup is going to be a smashing success, that their country will have no problems hosting the world’s largest sporting event, and that everything is going perfectly according to plan. The one thing they forgot, though, is that they have a free press and that the rest of the world has access to things like the Internet.
But you’ve gotta give South Africa credit for being creative. They’ve averted strikes and other potentially disastrous events so far, and now they’ve gotten creative about their lack of ticket sales as well, giving away thousands of tickets to impoverished South Africans.
A crappy world economy, 25% domestic unemployment, and stratospheric South African crime rates have combined to make for pretty slow ticket sales. But when you’ve got millions of poor people and thousands of unsold tickets, it’s a match made in South African heaven, according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS:
Organizers are giving South Africans 120,000 free tickets to next year’s World Cup in an effort to make the tournament more accessible to citizens living in poverty. The tickets will be given to poor fans working in health care, education and other development fields.
FIFA has already set low ticket prices for South African residents, starting at about $17, compared to $80 for international tickets. But with more than a quarter of the work force unemployed, and many of those who do have jobs earning $10 a day or less, even cheap seats are out of reach.
Ah, sports, the opiate of the masses. It’s probably a lot better to have the country’s poor occupied and blowing vuvuzelas in a stadium than outside protesting or contributing to the neverending crime issues. Sounds like a lovely place to visit.