One week ago, we took the very tough decision of postponing the first edition of WFS Africa. Today in Durban, South Africa, we would be closing an event for which we had been working tirelessly to create an incredibly strong event programme, with 1,000+ confirmed attendees travelling from 50+ countries, covered by 80+ media outlets.
We were certain that our summit was going to be a success, consolidating itself as an annual meeting point for the African football industry. Ever since we kicked-off the project a year ago, together with our loyal partners at the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, we were supported by the overwhelming enthusiasm shown by so many stakeholders of the industry in a way only this magical continent can.
Today, the decision we took to postpone is clearly a logical one – with the world currently at a standstill and borders being closed by the minute – but last week the decision we took was certainly the most difficult of our professional careers. South Africa was not a country which had been strongly impacted by the coronavirus; life there was normal, events were organised, football matches played with full stadiums and many of us thought that the risk was minimal. But minimal is certainly not enough and the well-being of our speakers, partners, delegates and employees is and will continue to be our number one priority.
We are an event-organising platform, specialising in the football industry. Our responsibility is to try and shape the most thought-provoking topics and bring the best leaders to discuss them, as well as creating the best possible platform for networking and business engagement. For any other issue, we seek the guidance of official experts and follow it rigorously. Once the coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the WHO, we spoke with the KwaZulu-Natal government and we both knew that hosting WFS Africa could pose a risk for our visitors’ health as well as increase the chances of the disease spreading in the country.
But the decision was most difficult because it also implied having to explain it to hundreds of people attending the summit. These included our partners, exhibitors, collaborators, speakers and delegates who had invested their time and resources in planning to come to a summit which, without them, made no sense. And their reaction to the news is, without a doubt, the most positive takeaway from this whole experience. The overwhelming feedback was one of support and understanding.
So a special thank you goes to them, and we would like to make clear to everyone that this is no goodbye. Our commitment to South Africa and Africa remains. We feel the “ubuntu” spirit more than ever and we’ll be back in Durban soon to host the great event that the African football industry deserves.
We express our support after the great work that we imagine you have done so far! 👏👏
— Social Football Summit (@SFSummit_Roma) March 18, 2020
Defenately after all this we shall meet!!
— Halakasha.co.za (@halakasha) March 17, 2020
In terms of all of our upcoming events, the WFS team is not immune to the uncertainties affecting the world these days. We don’t know when the global coronavirus pandemic will be under control or the effects that it will have on the industry. But we are sure that whatever the impact is, we will only overcome it if we come together as an industry. That’s why we are still working to host all our upcoming events and make them as big as ever. The industry requires the strongest possible platform at this time and we’re as committed as ever to provide it.
Never before have we been so eager to welcome you, and be sure that your safety is our number 1 priority. Our events will only take place if your well-being is totally guaranteed. We will continue monitoring the evolution of the outbreak and keep you constantly updated.
In the meantime, please follow all the recommendations provided by the official health authorities because we’ll only defeat this pandemic if we work together as a team.
We look forward to seeing you soon.