Behind the scenes at the cricket world cup

Much has been said about the exposure and economic benefits this Cricket World Cup is going to bring South Africa. However little is said about the people who are exploited in the process of making these benefits materialise.

I’m talking, for instance, about the 5 000 people who supposedly volunteered to make the R30 million opening ceremony possible on Saturday night. For six months these people slaved away in what is called rehearsals, using their own spare time without any hope of receiving any form of remuneration.

The only people receiving compensation are people like Rupert Murdoch and other big business people like himself. Practically speaking, Murdoch owns the International Cricket Council (ICC). In 2002, the ICC entered into an agreement with the World Sports Group (WSG). The agreement stipulated that the WSG was to acquire all the television and sponsorship rights at a cost of $550 million. The expiring date for the agreement is 2007.

Soon after the agreement was signed, WSG formed a consortium with Murdoch’s News Corporation. It was not long before Murdoch bought out the WSG, making him a 100 percent financial controller of the rights to the Cricket World Cup.

Pepsi is another company that has secured itself exclusive rights. Because of the agreement signed with the latter, only Pepsi products are to be consumed at the grounds. Further, a person is only allowed to bring to the grounds a half litre of water and that he or she must make sure the water is in a soft plastic bottle, unbranded.

Seemingly, the rationale behind this policy is profit-making and return of investments. As the cricket match takes a whole day, Pepsi knows no human-being can sustain themselves with 500 ml of water that whole time. The bottom line is that all those wanting to quench their thirst at this 54-match tournament, will have to pay Pepsi.

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