Sex workers shouldn't get too excited about business opportunities for next year's Fifa World Cup Soccer Tournament, warned Jiri Dvorak, head of the Fifa medical committee.
"Soccer fans are coming here for the soccer and not for the sex," he told journalists at the end of a meeting with the South African Fifa local organising committee.
During a media conference on the medical preparations for the tournament, South Africa's national Department of Health (DoH) said that it plans to work closely with the police to control prostitution during the tournament.
Pamphlets will be distributed to warn visitors of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.
Sex workers follow the action
According to Dvorak, thousands of prostitutes were expected to flock to Germany from Eastern Bloc countries during the 2006 Soccer World Cup. "But nothing much came from it."
Dr Peter Fuhri, director of the DoH's World Cup unit, said that it is known that sex workers sometimes move from stadium to stadium to be close to the action. The department's greatest concerns are for issues such as the involvement of minors, sexual abuse and illegal human trade.
Teazers Nightclub owner, Mr Lolly Jackson, told Die Burger that the government should clamp down on sex workers to avoid embarrassing South Africa.
In his view, the country's failure to manage the crime situation, as well as its failure to address the challenges of prostitution, will limit the amount of visitors to the country. "I can guarantee you that tourists will be robbed, raped and even shot, and quite a few will go home with HIV/Aids," said Jackson.
FIFA happy with medical preparation
Referring to an earlier meeting with the DoH, Dvorak said: "I am personally confident that we can hold the World Cup from the medical side… that the teams, the Fifa family, the Fifa delegation and also the spectators will be well taken care of."
Strategies to combat doping were also discussed in the meeting. These will include the education of players and collaboration with local officials and anti-drug agencies.
A doping laboratory for testing has been set up in Bloemfontein where results could be produced within 48 hours. "Ten players per team will be controlled (tested) unannounced," said Dvorak.
"We are promising comprehensive medical facilities for all visitors to the 2010 World Cup and the Confederation Cup," said chief medical official on the Fifa local organising committee, Dr Victor Ramathesele.
In the region of 700 ambulances have been purchased to date, while efforts are being made to improve emergency services, hospitals and the training of medical personnel.
(Antoinette Pienaar for Die Burger/Wilma Stassen, Health24, February 2009)