Travelling to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Leggat, Peter, Shaw, Marc T.M., and Toovey, Stephen (2010) Travelling to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 8 (2). pp. 74-78.

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Abstract

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup, conducted once every four years since the first championship in Uruguay in 1930, will be held in South Africa from the 11th June through until the 11th of July, 2010.1 The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the culmination of a qualification process that began in August 2007 and involved 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams.1 As such, it matches the 2008 Summer Olympics as the sports event with the most competing nations.2 An added honour for South Africa is that this will be the first time that the tournament has been hosted by an African nation.1

South Africa has a population of more than 47 million people, who inhabit more than 1.2 million square kilometres.3 The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be played across nine South African cities. From north to south, these include: Polokwane/Pietersburg, Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Tshwane/Pretoria (Administrative Capital), Johannesburg, Mangaung/Bloemfontein (Judicial Capital), Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth and Cape Town (Legislative Capital).4 There has been a dedicated stadium building or expansion program in each of these locations. The nine stadiums can now hold crowds of between 44,530 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg to 70,000 at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town.4 The country has many famous tourist attractions, including the numerous game parks, such as the renowned Kruger National Park, and four natural United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites. Although various languages are spoken in South Africa, English is widely used, almost universally on signage, as least where most travellers are likely to go.3 The applicable weather will be for late autumn/early winter in South Africa.

Probably the biggest concern for the Government, officials, players, spectators and travellers alike is the safety and security situation in South Africa. South Africa was ranked 96th globally for safety and security in the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index with a high homicide rate (543 deaths per million per year) and only 31% of South Africans feeling safe walking alone after dark.5 Although South Africa is no stranger to the hosting of high-level sporting events in such circumstances;6 however none of these come close to the potential scale of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. To improve safety and security, the South African Government has spent more than USD89 million (ZAR665 million) just on equipment, including helicopters, for the event, as well as spending USD85 million (ZAR640 million) on deployment of 41,000 South African police officers during the World Cup, amongst other measures.6 Despite reassurances of the South African Government, travellers will need to be made aware that South Africa has a high level of serious crime, including violent crime, which poses a range of risks. Travellers should also be alert to road and pedestrian safety in a country where drivers drive on the left hand side of the road. In 2008, there were over 14,000 fatal vehicle crashes in South Africa, and there remains a problem with unroadworthy vehicles and unlicensed drivers using public roads.7 Travellers should be advised to read travel advisories carefully, especially details on how to manage their own safety and security. Additionally, they should check current travel advisories before departing for South Africa. Travellers should also exercise care when selecting taxis, and finally, they are advised to seek advice from knowledgeable and trustworthy locals.

Item ID: 16875
Item Type: Article (Editorial)
Keywords: travel health, soccer, world cup, South Africa, infectious diseases
ISSN: 1477-8939
Date Deposited: 15 May 2011 12:22
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920412 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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