City of Cape Town maintains it did not cancel the Bayhill Premier Cup

2018-02-21 22:06
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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has distanced itself from the cancellation of the Bayhill Premier Cup soccer tournament amid strict water restrictions.

The tournament, which was meant to have taken place this weekend, was cancelled by its organisers, the Bayhill committee.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services in the City, said the City had been engaging the organisers over how to ensure that the tournament goes ahead.

"For the record, the City has not cancelled the Bayhill tournament as we are not the event organisers. In fact, there have been multiple positive engagements with the organisers aimed at finding a way to allow this tournament to continue, and to prepare the fields required for this purpose, within the limitations set by Level 6B water restrictions," Smith said.

Smith said the City was aware of 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," he said.

Smith said the City and the organisers of the tournament had had numerous meetings on how to ensure the tournament went ahead amid the drought crisis.

'These guys were watering sand'

"The City has suggested a number of contingency plans to ensure that sport can continue as far as possible, such as the use of community halls for junior games where a soccer ball is replaced with a softer, indoor ball," he said.

"SAFA (South African Football Association) 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."

Smith said the City struggled to get the message across to SAFA that, as part of the "new normal", the City's ability to irrigate its grass playing fields is severely compromised.

SAFA Cape Town president Bennett Bailey didn't know what Smith was talking about.

"I don't know what they are talking about. We were in the same meeting," Bailey said.

"[The tournament was cancelled] because of the conditions, these guys were watering sand, they were not watering grass," he said.

Bailey questioned why the City was making alternative plans for other sporting events, but could not ensure that the soccer tournament goes ahead.

"Arrangements are being made so the Cape Argus [Cape Town Cycle Tour] can take place; arrangements are being made so the Two Oceans [marathon] can take place. I don't know if it is a working-class issue or what," he said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  water

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