Maritzburg United made an offer that will be hard to refuse

2011-07-08 00:00

MARITZBURG United fans are facing the realistic possibility of being denied the opportunity to see PSL giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in action at Harry Gwala Stadium this season.

The club’s chairperson Farouk Kadodia confirmed yesterday that he had been contacted by officials at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth who have put forward a proposal that would see Maritzburg’s home PSL matches against Pirates and Chiefs, and one other top-eight side, played at the 2010 World Cup venue. This would mean that out of United’s 15 scheduled home matches, three would be played outside of Pietermaritzburg.

The club is still without a sponsor and, should Kadodia accept the proposal from Port Elizabeth, will receive an appearance fee of R1 million for each of the three matches.

“If we had a sponsor, there is no way I would even consider the option of moving our home games outside of the city,” said Kadodia. “But the financial gain for the club makes it worth considering as we would be able to use the money to settle some of our debts and become more active in the transfer market. We can’t short-change ourselves and we need to invest in good players.”

Harry Gwala stadium currently accommodates 11 000 spectators and is almost guaranteed to be sold out for the Pirates and Chiefs games. The fact that Nelson Mandela bay can accommodate 48 000 will also attract Kadodia.

United fans were outraged last season when they were drawn at home against Pirates in the semi-final of the Telkom Knockout only to see the game take place at Chatsworth Stadium.

Kadodia has been given until Tuesday to decide on whether or not he will take the offer.

A first draft of PSL fixtures was released to clubs on Wednesday but it will only be confirmed next week Thursday. If the first draft remains unchanged, then United will begin their campaign at home to Bidvest Wits on August 13 at Harry Gwala before travelling to Cape Town to take on Ajax on August 17. United’s next match, on August 24, would be at home against Pirates. If Kadodia accepts the invitation to play the game in Port Elizabeth, then Maritzburgers will have to wait a while longer to see the Buccaneers on their doorsteps.

For a club that is still without a title sponsor, a little over a month away from the start of a new season and almost static in the transfer market, it is an offer that will be extremely difficult to refuse.

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