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Jun 25 / Elizabeth DiNovella

World Cup, Sports and Social Justice at USSF

The World Cup is getting lots of coverage these days. But we’re not hearing enough about the demonstrations taking place in South Africa.

There have been a “series of  strikes at almost half of the World Cup stadiums as guards are being paid less than one tenth of what they were promised when they were employed,” reports AllAfrica.com. Seems like a newsworthy event, but the camera lens is focused on the soccer stars, not the working stiffs.

Yesterday during a sports panel hosted by journalists Davey D, Dave Zirin, and artist Favianna Rodriguez, longtime activist Trevor Ngwane joined us live via Skype from South Africa. It was so cool.

Ngwane talked about the “FIFA mafia” and said he “wouldn’t wish the World Cup on any country.”

The Anti-Privatisation Forum and other groups have been protesting throughout the games.

“The government has the wrong priorities,” said Ngwane. “The government shouldn’t prioritize mega-sports and mega-sports stars.”

Ngwane listed what the South African government should be prioritizing: housing, education, health care; youth unemployment is above 80% he said.

He added that there needs to be a more sustainable basis for unity for the poor besides the World Cup.

More marches are planned for next week in J-burg. Now if we could only get some coverage of that.

Speaking of television coverage, Dave Zirin mentioned a really shocking and sad statistic: only 40,000 Africans outside of the host country are watching the World Cup on TV. The TV rights are too expensive. There are probably more Americans watching the World Cup in New York City than in Africa (outside of South Africa).

And that’s one of the problems with these big games, be it World Cup or Olympics. Corporate rights get prioritized over human rights.

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