Bayhill called off this year

2018-02-27 06:00

The 2018 edition of the Bayhill Premier Cup (BPC) has been officially cancelled.
This comes after great consideration between major stakeholders involved with the organisation of this annual event, which draws the cream of the crop of local youth footballing talent from across the Cape.

“It is with deep regret and after extensive consideration that we, Bayhill Football Club, must inform you of our decision to cancel the 2018 edition of the Bayhill Premier Cup,” reads a statement from tournament director Patrick Williams.

The ongoing crippling drought was the overriding factor in the decision, despite continuous efforts by the City of Cape Town to prepare Erica Park (host venue for the BPC) in time for the tournament, which was due to be played between 28 March and 2 April.

“We are grateful towards the City of Cape Town’s facility management for the efforts they have put in at Erica Park Sports Complex to get the fields back to playing condition. The City of Cape Town has been monitoring the progress very closely.

“We have been informed by the City of Cape Town that it looks unlikely that the venue would be ready in time.

“With the water restrictions at level 6(b) it slows the pace of recovery even further. We were however hopeful that things would improve,” the statement continues.

The City has also offered to assist the organising committee to look for an alternative venue, while also refuting reports linking the City to the decision to cancel the tournament.

“The City recognises the importance of the tournament in the development of young soccer players.

“Last year the City did everything within its power to ensure that this tournament went ahead, including the trucking in of non-potable water to irrigate fields ahead of the tournament.

“Similar efforts were in place in preparation for the 2018 instalment of the tournament,” states Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith.

Smith goes onto explain that numerous meetings were held between the City and relevant stakeholders to find a solution that would have suited everyone, claiming that “Safa has not provided any proposals around how it would like the remaining playable fields to be booked in order to ensure that the most effective and equitable approach is taken”.

“Indeed, the communication we have seen issued from Safa has focused on:

o (a) the intention to continue with business as usual despite the continued destruction of the grass playing fields, an approach that will render many of them unplayable for years to come as the City will not have the money to reinstate these fields when all the grass has been stripped

o (b) blaming the City for not accommodating their usual fixtures and play hours despite numerous and lengthy engagements around the impact of the water crisis on the maintenance of grass fields,” continues Smith.

Meanwhile, Williams reiterates that the safety of the players in light of the threat of dehydration due to restrictions on water, as well as the knock-on effects on health and ablution, were also considered by the organising committee.

“We are extremely sad that there was no other suitable solution.

“We are however hopeful that the situation will improve for the 2019 tournament to take place.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, partners and associates who were willing to assist to host the BPC 2018,” says Williams.

The City hopes to construct facilities in view of easing the strain in the lead-up to the next soccer season.

“The Social Services Directorate is also reprioritising the budget in the financial year starting in July to improve sporting facilities by building additional artificial pitches, sinking new boreholes and expanding the treated effluent reticulation network to allow for better irrigation of playing fields, which we are not allowed to irrigate with potable water,” concludes Smith.

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