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Statement on the SA Tourism proposal to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), has noted the media reports and subsequent statements on the planned South African Tourism’s (SAT) three-year proposed R1-billion deal with the London-based football club, Tottenham Hotspur.

SASCOC fundamentally disagrees with SAT that this is the best way of using sport as a means to attract more tourists to our country.  The magnitude of the investment is not only disproportional to the investment our government is making to sport in our country, but what SAT is investing to supporting sports events taking place in our country.  Our members have expressed absolute outrage and disagreement at South African Tourism stance on the matter.  We are of the firm view that SAT should be promoting and funding international sport events within the country’s borders and supporting Team South Africa to fly our flag on international platforms, instead of sponsoring an English football club.

The President of SASCOC, Mr. Barry Hendricks commented on the matter, “The year 2023 has a variety of international sports events being hosted in South Africa. These include the Under 19 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Netball International Quad Series, Table Tennis World Contender Cup, Table Tennis World Cup, Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup, Indoor Hockey World Cup and Netball World Cup, to mention just a few.  We are of the view that a fraction of this investment channelled towards these events could better help bring more visitors and promote our country as a sports destination of choice.”

“SASCOC firmly believes that sports tourism is a critical vehicle for promoting our country as well as attract visitors to our shores.  Our view is that a collaborative effort that seeks to invest in events in our country to attract more visitors, whilst at the same time investing to improve infrastructure, alongside using all our national teams touring outside of the country, amongst other things, would be a better way to achieve the intended objectives and provide much broader returns, added Mr. Hendricks.

We will seek to engage with the South African Tourism to constructively engage with other stakeholders, on how sport can be best used as a vehicle to increase tourist numbers to our country. We are pleased that there is recognition in the tourism industry of the role and reach of sport brands and their impact on tourism, we hope through this collaboration, we can develop a multi-dimensional approach to continue to build national pride and bring visitors to our shores.