PE offers United R20 mln deal

2012-05-15 00:00

MARITZBURG United have been offered a three-year deal worth R20 million to make the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth their PSL fortress next season.

The news comes more than a week after Weekend Witness published a story on May 5 reporting that the club had been in talks with Port Elizabeth officials and that a potential relocation of the bulk of the Team of Choice’s home matches was on the cards.

The move would see United submit the 2012 World Cup stadium as their primary venue for the 2012/13 season before Friday’s PSL deadline for home fixture allocation. Pietermaritzburg’s Harry Gwala stadium would then become the club’s second preference as a home stadium.

But chairperson Farouk Kadodia said that staying in Pietermaritzburg would be first prize, and his decision will be based largely on whether the club manage to secure a sponsorship between now and the end of the week.

Kadodia confirmed he was in talks with a KwaZulu-Natal-based potential sponsor that was offering a deal worth 20% of the offer received from Port Elizabeth.

“Keeping football in Maritzburg is the priority right now,” Kadodia told The Witness yesterday.

“The alarm bells are ringing, and if we can secure a sponsor between now and Thursday then there will be no need for us to consider a move to PE.”

Kadodia confirmed that he had approached local and provincial governments in the past appealing for some kind of funding, but those attempts had been fruitless.

He is expecting the unnamed potential sponsor to have made a decision by the end of business on Thursday. This would give the club sufficient time to decide whether to accept the Port Elizabeth offer before Friday’s PSL deadline.

United moved three of their bigger home matches this season to PE in a deal that saw the club pocket around R750 000 per game.

If the deal were to be accepted, then Pietermaritzburg would miss out on the bulk of next season’s fixtures and Harry Gwala would be most likely used by the club whenever there is a clash at Nelson Mandela Bay.

United host Moroka Swallows at Harry Gwala in the final PSL match of the season on Saturday in what could quite possibly be the last match PMB sees for a while.

• sport@witness.co.za

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