Public loss, Fifa's gain

It was Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s first visit to the Mother City, but he knew exactly what he wanted from her.

When Ebrahim Rasool, then premier of the Western Cape, went to see Blatter at the five-star Arabella Sheraton Hotel on November 22 2005, the visitor complimented Cape Town’s “spectacular scenery”, saying the city could be the “face” of 2010 and host one of two semifinal matches.

He came to the point: the city’s match venue should be at Green Point and not Newlands Stadium as envisaged when South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup 18 months earlier, or Athlone Stadium, favoured by the province and the city for its developmental potential. A brand new stadium.

Later that day Blatter met with Thabo Mbeki. What the Fifa president and the country’s then president discussed can be inferred from a call Rasool received the next day ...

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This article was commissioned by the Institute for Security Studies Corruption and Governance Programme as part of a wider study.
The institute’s full report is at

Stefaans Brümmer

Stefaans Brümmer

Stefaans is an old hand at investigations. A politics and journalism graduate, he cut his reporting teeth at the Cape Argus in the tumultuous early 1990s; then joined the Mail & Guardian as democracy dawned in April 1994. For the next 16 years (a late-1990s diversion into television and freelancing apart), the M&G was his journalistic home and launch pad for award-winning investigations focusing on the nexus between politics and money. Stefaans has co-authored exposés including Oilgate, the Selebi affair, Chancellor House and significant breaks in the arms deal scandal. Stefaans and Sam Sole co-founded amaBhungane in 2010. He divides his time between the demands of media bureaucracy (which he detests), coaching members of the amaBhungane team, and his first love, digging for dung. Read more from Stefaans Brümmer

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