Cape Town – Following the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the United Nations assesses the tournament as a great success for all involved parties. Irrespective of the result of the final, the real victor of the 2010 World Cup is Africa and the South African people.
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, when he attended the World Cup summed up the occasion: “There is no doubt that this World Cup has been a success for South Africa and for the entire African continent. I congratulate the Government and the South African people”. “It is my hope that this renewed focus on Africa will lead to an African renaissance and I call upon all parties to focus on ensuring that the success is sustained. I also call on African nations to find peaceful solutions to the many conflicts on the continent and to implement good and transparent policies in order to secure socio-economic development for the populations of the African nations” He continued. “Following this path and looking to the example of South Africa and the World Cup, I am convinced that investors will be confident to focus on sustained investment on the continent”.
The UN Secretary-General acknowledged the efforts of the South African government and the local organizing committee in organizing and sustaining an event of this magnitude. Its organization surpassed expectations, as the tournament took place in a positive spirit and safe environment for athletes, fans, observers, and local community members alike. While there may have been doubts prior to the World Cup about staging the event in South Africa, there is now widespread confidence in the ability of the region to stage such global events. Furthermore, the South African Government has shown its leadership though policy initiatives around the World Cup, such as the Global Education Summit focusing on ensuring that all children have access to primary schooling, and that girls have equal access to education.
The Secretary-General recognized that the enthusiasm and support of the South African people, and the entire African continent, has been essential for the success of the World Cup. Through the resounding cry of the vuvuzela, the world saw the power of African solidarity, felt the hope of the nation and the continent. Local communities were instrumental to the success of the World Cup, and should be commended for their welcoming spirit and enthusiastic participation.
FIFA and its Secretary-General adamantly advocated for the 2010 edition of the FIFA World Cup to take place in Africa. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented, “FIFA should be commended for its commitment to using the momentum and attention of football’s greatest stage as a catalyst for development and economic stimulus for the African region, including its 20 Football for Hope centers throughout Africa. The United Nations is keen to work with FIFA and other international sporting organizations in connection with future global mega sporting events, such as the upcoming Olympic Games in London and Sochi and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, specifically focusing on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
In this context, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa marked an unprecedented opportunity for the United Nations to promote its development and peace-building efforts, in particular, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Although sport was already widely used by the UN prior to the World Cup as a cost efficient and effective tool for development and peace, the 2010 FIFA World Cup has given the use of sport as a development tool an incredible burst of momentum that has been felt throughout the UN System. The Secretary-General said, “It is my hope that the momentum that has been gained through the World Cup will carry through in the coming years and hopefully be amplified even further through the engagement of governments. I encourage governments to work with the UN system and my Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke to clearly recognise sport as a recognized development and peace-building tool.”
New York, 13 July 2010
For more information, contact:
Ms. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, UNIC Director
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or Mr. Sudeshan Reddy, National Information Officer
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