Soccerex aims for lasting legacy
The major players in the 2007 Soccerex conference taking place in Johannesburg from Sunday aim to extend the effect of the event to the 2010 World Cup and beyond.
Speakers who emphasised this at the launch of the conference in Sandton yesterday was British High Commissioner to South Africa Paul Boateng, who said his country was willing to make a contribution to the legacy of 2010 projects.
"We offer our services to South Africa. Logistics support, tourism and engineering - we commit ourselves to contribute in any way we can. We therefore take up the challenge to tap into this country's sporting and entrepreneurial potential. We are looking forward to a hugely successful Soccerex," Boateng said.
For those in football business, Soccerex offers the opportunity to network, while clubs, federations and sponsors from around the world present their business ideas and strategies.
The exhibition started in England 10 years ago, and was held in Dubai for the past three years. Duncan Revie, the chief executive of Soccerrex, told guests that his company felt a need to get involved in a lasting manner, and is therefore sponsoring the building of a sporting facility in Mapetla, Soweto.
Also addressing the conference was Ray Whelan from 2010 sponsor Match Event. On Tuesday, more than 200 international tour operators will be discussing ways of helping the cause of making Gauteng a worldwide brand.
"They will be here to make sure that when the World Cup comes around, the whole world understands that Gauteng is synonymous with success. It is important to understand that since more than 20 percent of 2010 matches will take place in this province, we need to start our working partnerships with hotels, taxis and ACSA [Airports Company South Africa]," said Whelan.
Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said by bringing the long-running conference to Gauteng, the owners were not only contributing to the success of the World Cup, but were helping to market and position South Africa as a major player in the global market.
"Through this event, we will be building friendships and creating ambassadors. We want them to attend Soccerex and we want them to come back for 2010," Shilowa said.
"However, by granting us the right to host this event three times in a row, the owners are granting, among others, our hospitality industry a chance to hone their skills and ensure we have the capacity to handle events of this magnitude."
The convention kicks off on Sunday with a five-a-side football festival featuring former soccer stars from English Premiership clubs Manchester United and Liverpool, a Soccerex Select team, and an Africa All Stars team.