The campaign to host a World Cup, the largest event in professional soccer, is intense, with dozens of countries vying for the quadrennial tournament. In 2010, the games were hosted by South Africa. While there are a number of advantages to hosting the games, such as publicity for the host country and increased revenue from tourists, there are also a number of potential disadvantages.
Hosting the World Cup costs the host country an enormous amount of money. For the 2010 tournament, the initial projections for costs were far too low. According to Professor Richard Tomlinson of the University of Melbourne, as of June 2010, costs had spiraled out of control, and South Africa had spent approximately US$4 billion on preparations for the event. Although there are economic benefits to hosting the tournament, Tomlinson called them "vastly overstated."
One of the main concerns among nations hosting the tournament, especially poor nations, is that the influx of well-heeled foreigners will drive up the costs of basic goods. According to FIFA, soccer's main ruling body and the main group responsible for organizing the World Cup, of the perceived potential disadvantages of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, inflation was the biggest concern for South Africans polled about the drawbacks of hosting the games, with 70% believing it would increase the prices of consumer goods.
One of the other drawbacks of hosting a World Cup is the wear and tear done to a country's infrastructure and services during the event. While South Africa spent billions of dollars upgrading its infrastructure to accommodate the event, significant pressure was put on it by the more than a million tourists who made use of its facilities during the monthlong tournament.
According to the Human Sciences Research Council, one on the main fears of South Africans was the World Cup would increase the crime rate. Approximately one-quarter of respondents in a series of polls stated they believed crime would increase, presumably because of the arrival of thousands wealthy tourists.
Diversion of Resources
Another disadvantage of hosting the World Cup can be a country's diversion of resources to managing the game. In an effort to make sure the games are given proper security and visitors provided proper accommodations, a country, particularly a poor one such as South Africa, might temporarily siphon off some of the services normally provided to its residents.