Public outrage in South Africa over potential sponsorship deal with Spurs

The South African Tourism Authority has explored the possibility of sponsoring Tottenham Hotspur

South Africa’s official tourism body has said it intends to move forward with a proposed sponsorship deal with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, despite public outcry after details emerged. leaked to the media this week.

Themba Khumalo, acting CEO of South African Tourism (SAT), said while there is no signed deal yet, the board has approved the proposed three-year deal, valued at 900 million South African rand (£42.5m/$52.5m). conditionally approved.

Khumalo has revealed that despite leaked details of the deal, which is set to start at the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season, non-disclosure agreements mean he cannot confirm the finer points.

“Someone maliciously leaked confidential documents to the press – prematurely – while the discussion was still ongoing,” Khumalo said.

The board of SAT, which operates under the auspices of the South African government, conditionally approved the deal after visiting London in January, Khumalo said.

He added that the various government actors have not yet been contacted, as planned, as the SAT is dealing with the aftermath of the leak.

“We are part of a big tourism family and we cannot just move on, no matter what our stakeholders say.

“We need to be sensitive to what our partners are saying and make sure everyone is in agreement, so we can work together holistically. So that’s where the deal is now.

“Lost Vanity Project”

The proposed deal with a team that sits fifth in the Premier League has drawn criticism from several quarters in South Africa, which is currently struggling with the economy.

Some believe that the money intended to finance the proposed sponsorship could be better spent in a country struggling with daily power cuts, water shortages and high unemployment.

Several national sports federations also joined in the criticism, saying the money could help fund struggling national organizations and local athletes.

The South African Trades Union Congress (Cosatu), the country’s largest trade union federation, has called the proposed deal an insult to struggling workers and taxpayers.

“This is a misguided vanity scheme that will do nothing to fix the ailing tourism industry, which has not only suffered from Covid-19 but is also being sabotaged by power outages and high crime rates. “Cosatu said in a statement.

Demonstrators in South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria, protested against power cuts last month

Responding to the concerns raised by critics, Khumalo noted that these issues should be dealt with by the respective government departments that have jurisdiction over them.

“The money that goes into tourism is not the same money that goes into energy or fixing potholes,” he said in Johannesburg. “There are other departments that are engaged and that receive this mandate through legislation.

“Our legal mandate is to persuade international people to travel to the country and spend money in our economy. Whether through this initiative or any other, we will continue to do so until further notice. . »

Khumalo said the 900 million rand ($52.5 million) investment would lead to an expected return of 88 billion rand ($5.1 billion) in outbound spending from tourist arrivals from the Kingdom. United States and the United States, the two largest tourist markets in the country.

“It’s a strong business case that has a direct impact on foreign investment coming into the country.”

The proposed deal disclosed involved that in addition to training camps in South Africa, SAT would also have shirt branding, matchday advertising, interview background image, stadium hospitality and partnership announcements.


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