Mother City ‘disappointed’ over Afcon – De Lille

2012-05-04 13:37

The City of Cape Town has said it is disappointed after losing out as a host nation for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) football tournament.

“From the outset, the City expressed its desire to be part of what we truly believe is a celebration of African football,” Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement.

“However, at each stage of the process, we have highlighted a number of serious legal, financial and other concerns that needed to be negotiated in order for the City to comply with our legal responsibilities, and to ensure that we did not compromise the interests of the ratepayers and citizens of Cape Town.”

De Lille said Cape Town’s concerns had been shared by a number of other municipalities.

“We continue to believe that it would have been irresponsible to sign a host city agreement without substantial amendments to the agreement,” she said.

“The fact that other municipalities have seen fit to do so is surprising, given the serious problems associated with the agreement.”

De Lille said Cape Town, which boasts the Cape Town Stadium – a 2010 World Cup venue – had not received a reply regarding its concerns, which had “fallen on deaf ears”.

The government announced earlier today that Mbombela, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg and eThekwini would host Afcon matches, with Soccer City in Johannesburg set to hold the opening and closing ceremonies.

This met the Confederation of African Football (Caf) minimum requirement of four venues, rather than the six that the Afcon local organising committee (LOC) had earlier earmarked.

Cape Town, which had been vocal about possible high costs of holding matches, would host 2014 African Nations Championships (Chan) matches.

Polokwane, Kimberley and Bloemfontein would also stage Chan games.

Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who had previously given assurance that government would assist with costs, said a task team would finalise procedures with the SA Football Association next week.

“The issue of budgets is not a problem,” Mbalula said.

“Understand that this is not a ‘spaza shop’, we still have to sit down and look at overall costs.

“We have stopped the LOC from running to the cities. Now all issues will be forwarded to the centre [task team].

“If Johannesburg, for instance, has a problem, we will account to that.”

To generate maximum income from the tournaments, Mbalula hoped that Caf would loosen some of its stringent requirements, and be allowed to bring sponsors on board that would help in cutting expected government costs.

“Private companies will also come in,” he said.

“We will need to pursue negotiations with Caf to ensure that this happens.

“We agreed that if Caf comes to the party, then gate takings should be shared between Caf, hosting cities and government.”

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