- SA Tourism's proposed deal with Spurs received public backlash
- It has now emerged it was Chelsea who were in the picture first
- SA Tourism looks determined to proceed with the Spurs deal
WHAT HAPPENED? South Africa Tourism sparked a furore on Wednesday after it emerged they were planning to seal an almost R1 billion sponsorship deal with Premier League side Tottenham.
The deal was meant to sell South Africa as the perfect tourism destination in the same way Rwanda has been sponsoring Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain.
But it has now been established Chelsea were the first to appear in the picture with Chiwenga facilitating the deal that was going to cost lesser than the Tottenham one.
WHAT CHIWENGA SAID: “What I can tell you is that I’ve had extensive discussions with the relevant stakeholders in South Africa regarding a potential partnership deal with ‘The Blues’,” Chiwenga told SABC Sport.
“It all started in 2021 as I could see the damages caused by the pandemic in a country where tourism plays such a major role, as a source of revenue and employment – this is why I contacted ‘Visit South Africa’.
“In the proposal, the government, through SA Tourism’s budget allocation, was going to pay Chelsea 12 million Pounds annually for the duration of the three-year deal, which was scheduled to commence from 1 July 2022 until 30 July 2025.
“Tottenham’s proposal would work out at 14.2 million Pounds a year – I was shocked, and I still am. After spending almost half a year speaking with South Africa about the opportunity to boost its tourism through a partnership with an incredibly successful, leading Premier League club.
“How can everyone involved change their minds so quickly? Does it make sense? Why not Chelsea? Why [is the Tottenham deal] more expensive? This is not straightforward.
“I brought everything to the table, and somebody is having a ‘free lunch’ at the expense of South Africans. Doesn’t it taste bitter?”
AND WHAT MORE? The SABC report states the Tottenham deal could be signed this week. SA Tourism Acting CEO Themba Khumalo hinted the deal will go ahead at a press briefing on Thursday.
“The money that's invested in tourism is not the same money that's required for energy, it's not the same amount of money that's required for potholes,” said Khumalo as per iDiski Times.
“Our legislative mandate is about persuading international people to travel into the country and spend money in our economy and that is what we will stick to.
“Whether it is through this [Tottenham] initiative or any other initiative. That is what we are mandated to do… and that is what we will continue to do until we are told otherwise.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The South African public was fuming on social media blasting the proposed Tottenham deal.
Even opposition politicians joined in criticizing, saying that was not necessary for a country experiencing serious economic challenges.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE SPURS DEAL? It remains to be seen whether the Spurs deal will be finalized amid public outcry.