SA Tourism intends to sponsor R1billion to England soccer team

In an effort to draw tourists to the nation, the South African Tourism(STA) intends to execute a nearly R1 billion contract with Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. The London-based club frequently competes in the Champions League. In an effort to draw tourists to the nation, the entity intends to execute a nearly R1 billion contract with Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. According to  “Daily Maverick,” the South African government is getting ready to sign a contract worth R910 997 814.75 through its marketing organization SA Tourism.

Political parties reject the deal

The latest political group to oppose a planned R1 billion sponsorship deal with English Premier League powerhouse Tottenham Hotspur using public funds in South Africa is ActionSA, which claims the deal is just an expensive PR stunt with dubious returns. The proposed Tottenham Sponsorship deal, according to party chairman Herman Mashaba, is an example of the ANC’s fixation with personal profit.

“At a time when South Africa is facing an unprecedented energy crisis and rampant crime, scarce state resources should be used to address the most pressing needs in the nation. If we want to attract sustainable tourism to South Africa, we need to start by fixing these issues not just an expensive PR campaign with questionable benefits,” said Mashaba.

He said that officials and politicians will stand to gain more from the pact than the general public, including access to stadium hospitality and tickets to Tottenham Hotspur games in London.

“It is questionable that this deal appears to be pushed through with much haste and alacrity before [tourism minister Lindiwe] Sisulu is reshuffled in cabinet in the coming days, further raising suspicion behind the true motives of the deal. South Africans are all too familiar with ‘success fees’ that officials and politicians have earned from similar deals in the past. Sadly, one cannot evaluate any such proposal without questioning who the real financial beneficiaries will be.” Mashaba emphasized that when South African sports teams and sportsmen represent the nation abroad, they must beg for money and look for sponsorships.

Manny de Freitas, the DA’s spokesperson for tourism, said in a statement on Wednesday that the party would ask questions about the purported transaction, which it dubbed “lunacy,” and how it came to be. A three-year agreement for £42.5 million (about R900 million) was proposed by SA Tourism, with the first year commencing with the 2023–24 English Premier League season and the last year finishing with the 2026–27 season. De Freitas claimed in the statement on Wednesday that the alleged deal was “an insult for the South African tourism business,” which was severely impacted by Covid and its aftermath.

De Freitas stated that the party would also bring up the subject at the following meeting of the tourism portfolio committee. “The money should rather be spent locally to improve our tourism sector so that it can thrive, create jobs and in turn contribute to the much-needed growth of our economy,” reads the DA’s statement.

It is believed that Themba Khumalo, the acting CEO of Tourism SA, met with Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to discuss the agreement. A “memorandum of understanding” between SA Tourism and Tottenham Hotspur is “non-binding,” according to a statement made by Sisulu on Wednesday, and has not yet been authorized by the National Treasury. The minister claimed to have no personal stake in the agreement and said that media reports were “filled with errors and lies intended to smear” her reputation. “This is an outrageous lie. This alleged transaction is solely a SAT Board issue “Sisulu remarked.

SA Tourism continues with the deal

Themba Khumalo, the acting chief executive officer of South African Tourism (SAT), disclosed on Thursday through a press conference that the board had given conditional permission and that the proposed sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur was moving forward. On Wednesday, the South African sports community as a whole responded to the news with amazement, with federations and athletes proposing that such a huge sum of money would be better spent locally to support local sports growth. In return for the investment, SA Tourism would receive training camps in South Africa, branding for the team uniforms, branding for the interview backdrops, match-day advertising, partnership announcements, complimentary tickets, and stadium hospitality.

Khumalo claimed the SA Tourism board had given its conditional approval of the deal after visiting the United Kingdom last month, but different governmental stakeholders weren’t contacted to get the specifics after the 31 January meeting. However, he was unable to confirm or deny the sponsorship figures.

“The board made a conditional approval because it commercially makes sense, but it needs communication with the stakeholders to make sure they’re aligned,The stakeholders were not engaged because we were going to do so before the leak came out.We believe in the engagement, but there isn’t a signed contract with the entity. There was a conversation that led to the conditional approval.There’s no signed contract, but there is an intention to. We need to do due diligence and follow government processes.We had to halt this conversation to have this conversation, so once we complete this one, we’ll look forward.The other teams had tourism partners and Spurs didn’t have one. We looked at every team in that tier.”Khumalo told reporters. Khumalo stated that until the board made a final decision, tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu could not be updated on the plans.

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