Will the stadiums keep on paying?

2010-06-06 13:23

Cape Town-based Absa Premiership clubs Ajax Cape Town, Santos and

newly ­promoted Vasco da Gama have drawn up an innovative plan to keep Green

Point Stadium viable post-World Cup.

In their joint proposal sent to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and

the City of Cape Town, these sides have requested to stage some of their home

matches there as double-headers on Friday nights.

The trio said it could apply only to fixtures pitting Ajax against

Vasco and Santos against Vasco.

The clubs also intend to host all their “Category A” fixtures –

against Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns – at the

R4.5-billion arena.

Currently, the listed soccer venues in Cape Town are Athlone,

Coetzenburg, Bellville and Newlands rugby stadiums, which are shared by Ajax and

Santos while Vasco – which was then in the First Division – hosted their games

at smaller Paarl and Wellington grounds.

“We want to keep the Football Friday momentum going long after the

World Cup, to ensure that Green Point continues to host official soccer games,”

said Ajax CEO George Comitis.

Santos and Vasco bosses Goolam Allie and Mario das Neves

respectively concurred that the move would benefit all the stakeholders

including the Cape Town municipality.

PSL chief executive Kjetil Siem confirmed receipt of the proposal

and said the league was looking into it.

» Meanwhile, Mbombela (Mpumalanga), Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern

Cape) and ­Peter Mokaba (Limpopo) are unlikely to find anchor tenants to

generate funds for the preposterous costs of upkeep and debts after the World

Cup.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have already expressed their lack of interest

in Mbombela Stadium, which means the R1.3-billion structure faces the risk of

turning into a white elephant.

The club’s co-director, Mario Morfou, said they had never been

approached by the Mbombela authorities over possible discussions on taking their

games to the Nelspruit venue.

“Our roots are in Witbank and we have no intention of moving to

Nelspruit.

“We are enjoying good support in Witbank and I don’t see us

inconveniencing our fans to travel a long distance to our home games,” said

­Morfou, adding that the club had an existing lease agreement with the ­Puma

Rugby Union to use the Pumas’ stadium, with Ackerville Stadium as their other

home ground.

Bay United, Port Elizabeth’s only soccer club, was reported earlier

this year to be contemplating going into liquidation while Limpopo-based sides

Black Leopards, Dynamos and Winners Park are all campaigning in the First

Division.

An investigation conducted by City Press last month ­revealed that

residents of the nine host cities might in ­future have to fork out ­anywhere

between R10 million and R70 million a year for the maintanance of the stadiums

that were built especially for the World Cup.



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