T-shirts, flags, buses for United fans

2008-04-24 00:00

The Msunduzi Municipality is treading carefully in providing funds for Maritzburg United’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) promotion play-off against FC AK, following public outcry over their R20 000 expenditure on the funeral of a youth manager.

Council hopes that by providing buses for supporters and promotional material like flags, T-shirts and advertising boards, the municipality will benefit. They also hope that if the team are promoted to the PSL, spin-offs like live television coverage of matches will boost the city.

"Every time big teams play here it will impact on the youth and our local economy …" said city manager Rob Haswell.

The parks, sport and recreation division initially asked the executive committee (Exco) to approve R102 586 for supporter buses, a DJ and two artists, drum majorettes, a sound system, flags, T-shirts and advertising boards.

The DA opposed the amount, saying it is a "luxury we cannot afford". DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said the last time the municipality organised a game to "promote the city" it was a "total flop where 200 people turned up". Exco is still awaiting the report detailing what went wrong at the match between a Dr Khumalo XI and a Clive Barker XI in December last year, which cost R530 000.

Deputy Mayor Mervin Dirks said that in the past the municipality has made contributions of over R10 million towards cycling, athletics, and canoeing events and it would only be fair to support soccer.

Exco reached a compromise of R60 800 for providing promotional material and buses, but not the DJ, entertainers and baton twirlers.

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