Leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, reports have come out alleging that South African authorities had made efforts to hide the homeless population to make areas seem more welcoming to tourists. Now, as the games go on, one organization is taking a stand to raise awareness about the negative impact of the World Cup on the poor and homeless.
The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) has organized the Poor People’s World Cup, a three-week-long competition that mimics the FIFA World Cup, but allows poor South Africans to participate and spectate. Groups from 40 impoverished Cape Town communities have formed teams to compete in the Poor People’s World Cup.
AEC coordinator Ashraf Cassiem told CNN, “It’s an attempt by poor people in Cape Town to bring to attention their plight as a result of the World Cup and the effect it has on communities.
“It’s a platform created by poor people, for poor people, to expose the evictions and displacements affecting poor people in a negative way.”
According to the AEC, the World Cup excludes the poor because tickets are too expensive, and the event forces many poor people out of work because street vendors are not allowed to sell their merchandise. The AEC also claims that the poor have been moved to ‘Temporary Relocation Centers’ to be hidden from visiting soccer fans.