(Bloomberg) -- A proposal by South Africa’s tourism agency to sponsor English football club Tottenham Hotspur is being opposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said the reported 1 billion rand ($58 million) cost is excessive. 

The presidency has yet to be briefed on the envisaged deal, and Ramaphosa has no plans to announce it in his Feb. 9 annual state-of-the-nation address, according to his spokesman Vincent Magwenya. “We do not think spending so much money in the manner that is being suggested will be justified,” Magwenya said in a text message.

Tourism South Africa on Thursday confirmed that its board had given preliminary approval to the sponsorship, though it’s still being discussed with government officials. While the Daily Maverick news website said the contract could be worth about 1 billion rand, the government agency declined to comment on the value, citing confidentiality agreements. Tottenham Hotspur declined to comment. 

Tourism was dealt a massive blow by the coronavirus pandemic and related travel bans, and currently generates about 3% of South Africa’s gross domestic product. Ongoing electricity outages have deterred holidaymakers from visiting the country, undermining efforts to revive the industry. 

Read more: Tottenham Hotspur Targeted in South African Tourism Drive 


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