Watchdog agency: FIFA to withdraw ads that drew complaints over host city names

By David Crary, AP
Friday, June 25, 2010

Watchdog: FIFA to withdraw ads that drew complaint

JOHANNESBURG — FIFA has promised to bar further use of World Cup ads in which the host cities of Pretoria and Bloemfontein are referred to only by relatively new African names.

South Africa’s Advertising Standards Authority said Friday that an Afrikaner lobby group called AfriForum, along with several members of the public, had complained about the ads.

AfriForum said they created the misimpression that Pretoria’s and Bloemfontein’s names had been changed.

Throughout the run-up to the World Cup, FIFA had tried to use two names when appropriate — the traditional city names, Pretoria and Bloemfontein, and the new, post-apartheid names of the regional municipalities, Tshwane and Manguang. AfriForum said the ads it complained about, unlike most FIFA-produced material, used only the newer names.

Corne Koch, communications manager for the advertising authority, said an agreement was completed with FIFA attorneys on Thursday that the ads in question would not be used any further. The authority is a nongovernment organization — formed by major South African advertising, business and media groups — to self-regulate advertising ethics.

According to Koch, FIFA said that the driving force behind the ads in question were municipal officials in the host cities who sought to use only the post-apartheid names in some ads promoting ticket sales.

However, she said FIFA undertook to ensure that the ads were withdrawn and not used again.

Kallie Kriel, executive director of AfriForum, said he welcomed the outcome.

“While the World Cup aims to improve the relations between people worldwide, these efforts are being thwarted by metro councils that are trying to create division in South Africa by not recognizing place names with a particular cultural and historical value,” Kriel said.

Kriel said AfriForum has waged “a continuous battle” over the past few years trying to counter efforts in some quarters to create the impression that Pretoria had been renamed Tshwane. For example, he said, there had been a move — not successful — to change the names on highway signs.

“We’re not against those names,” he said. “In a spirit of reconciliation, you accommodate both.”

The broader issue of new geographical names has been a contentious one for South Africa throughout the post-apartheid era, as the governing African National Congress has sought to replace many names linked to the era of white-minority rule. Pretoria, the capital, is named for Andries Pretorius, who led his fellow Afrikaner trekkers to a victory over the Zulus in the 1838 Battle of Blood River

FIFA announced an agreement in 2007 to use both the old and new names in regard to Pretoria/Tshwane, Bloemfontein/Manguang and also Port Elizabeth and its municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay.

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