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South Africans Outraged over Potential Spurs sponsorship deal

Despite widespread outcry after information about the potential sponsorship contract with Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur was leaked to the media this week, South Africa’s official tourism body says it still plans to pursue it.

Themba Khumalo, interim CEO of South African Tourism (SAT), stated that the board had conditionally accepted the planned three-year arrangement worth 900 million South African rand (£42.5 million/$52.5 million), despite the lack of a signed contract as of yet.

Although information about the potential arrangement, which would begin at the start of the 2023–24 Premier League season, has leaked, Khumalo said he is unable to confirm the finer specifics due to confidentiality agreements.

While the meeting was still going on, “someone maliciously disclosed secret documentation into the press,” according to Khumalo.

After visiting London in January, the SAT board—which is overseen by the South African government—conditionally approved the sale, according to Khumalo.


Given that SAT is currently dealing with the consequences of the leak, he said that the various government stakeholders had still not been notified, as had been planned by this point.

We must consider the opinions of all of our stakeholders because we are a part of a larger tourist family.

To go forward holistically, we must pay attention to what our partners are saying and ensure that everyone is on board. Therefore, it is the current situation.

Many people in South Africa, which is now experiencing economic difficulties, have criticized the potential deal with a side that is currently fifth in the Premier League.


Some others think the funds intended to support the proposed sponsorship should be used more effectively in a nation where there are frequent power outages, water shortages, and high unemployment.


A number of national sports federations have also voiced their disapproval, arguing that the funds may be used to support financially disadvantaged national organizations and local athletes.

The proposed agreement was denounced as an insult to suffering workers and taxpayers by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the largest trade union federation in the nation.

The tourism industry is in trouble and has been harmed by Covid-19 as well as electricity outages and high crime rates, according to a statement from Cosatu. “This is a misguided vanity project that will contribute nothing to fix the ailing tourism industry,” the statement continued.


In response to criticism, Khumalo noted that the relevant government departments, whose jurisdiction it falls under, must deal with such situations.

In Johannesburg, he remarked, “The money that’s put in tourism is not the same money that’s required for energy or for correcting potholes.” There are other departments with a focus and a mandate established by law.

“Our statutory mandate is to encourage visitors from abroad to come to the nation and spend money there. Until told differently, we will continue to do that, whether it be through this effort or any other.


The 900 million rand ($52.5 million) investment, according to Khumalo, is expected to generate a return of 88 billion rand ($5.1 billion) in foreign expenditure from visitors to the country’s two main tourist destinations, the United Kingdom and the United States.


“It’s a strong business argument that directly affects foreign investment that enters the nation.”

The leaked proposed agreement suggested that in addition to training camps in South Africa, SAT would also get kit branding, match-day advertising, interview background branding, stadium hospitality, and partnership announcements.

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