ON 17 and 18 March, Durban will become the capital of the African football industry thanks to WFS Africa. The largest event in the global football industry is landing on the continent for the first time and it will gather the most relevant stakeholders in the global and regional industry.
International leaders such as FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, LaLiga President Javier Tebas, and Argentinian legend Juan Sebastián Verón will share the stage with key African figures such as SAFA President, Danny Jordaan, Sierra Leone Football Association President, Isha Johansen, or KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, who chaired the official media launch this morning at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“We are excited and very proud as the Province of KwaZulu-Natal to play host to such a global event that brings all those involved in the business of sports together,” said the KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala , who is the main partner of this two-day networking event that is set to mark a turning-point for the African football industry.
The Premier added that global research showed that the sports industry is the second fastest growing sector for brands, outpacing the GDP growth of most countries.
WFS Africa is expected to bring together over 1,000 attendees and 80 top speakers from 50 different countries, as well as some of the main sponsoring brands and the most influential national and international media houses. The economic impact of WFS summits for the host city exceeds 12 million euros (R195 million), according to reports released by World Football Summit.
EThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said, “This is indeed a vote of confidence in us that we remain the preferred venue for major international events. With over 1200 delegates from around the world expected to attend the WFS, this will once again position Durban as a globally competitive city for investment and a venue of choice for sport events.”
Kaunda added that the event presented the province with an opportunity to showcase its “state-of-the-art infrastructure” built during 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Although the football industry in Africa is not as mature yet as it is in other regions, the organizers believe it will be a crucial location in upcoming years.
“We are absolutely convinced that the region gathers all the necessary ingredients for the football industry to bloom. The passion and talent that exists in Africa for football is unmatchable to that of anywhere else. Africa also has 20% of the world’s youngest population making it a market with a huge potential for growth”, said WFS Director Jan Alessie.
Alessie is confident that this will mark the beginning of a long-term relationship between WFS and Durban. “Today, we’re putting the first brick in an event which wants to build a robust and long-lasting house not only for WFS, but also for the African industry”, he said.
WFS started in Madrid in 2016 and it currently hosts yearly summits in Madrid and in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
LaLiga, Spain’s top-tier football league, is a Global Partner of WFS. Marcos Pelegrin, General Director for the South of Africa, explained why he thinks this event can have a big and positive impact for the African football industry: “We have been a partner of WFS since the beginning because it is a unique platform to show all the things LaLiga is doing around the world to the industry leaders. We’re looking forward to sharing the exciting plans we have in South Africa, which is a strategic country for us”.
Also present at the Media Launch were MEC for Economic Development, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, acting MEC for Arts, Culture Sport and Recreation Kwazi Mshengu, (representing MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela, Members of the Executive Council and Members of Provincial Legislature.