JMPD booted from stadium duty

Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) will no longer be used to control traffic flow for major sporting events at FNB Stadium, Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) said on Tuesday.

“We’re still going to utilise the JMPD as an oversight traffic consultant,” Jacques Grobbelaar, chief executive of SMSA said.

“What we cannot walk away from is the fact that, in the past, it didn’t work. What we paid for in the past and what we expected, is not what we received.”

Grobbelaar was addressing a media conference at FNB Stadium on the state of readiness for the 2014 Carling Cup - a pre-season friendly between Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates - which takes place on July 26.

He and his team would now make use of the greater Gauteng traffic department to facilitate the oversight of parking and logistical challenges inside the Soccer City complex.

“We decided it’s best to bring Gauteng traffic in, with exercising their plan on the day,” Grobbelaar said.

“Going forward, there will be many different planning sessions in finding the ultimate solution towards a transport management plan.”

The Carling Cup attracts more spectators than the 2010 World Cup managed, while also beating the attendance figures for Bafana Bafana’s shock win over Spain last year.

Frustrated supporters and those attending major soccer matches have often, in the past, vented their frustrations at the amount of time it takes to get inside the complex, when travelling in private vehicles.

Hospitality ticket holders are also given parking tickets and are eligible to park inside the private parking facilities made available, while those without the necessary documents are turned away and told to park in the public facilities outside the compound.

But Grobbelaar admits the reason for the delays, which also affect media representatives trying to get to their designated parking areas, is ineligible motorists trying to access restricted areas.

“Often in the past, we’ve asked motorists who pitch up at the gates to give us the barcode on their parking tickets.

“We’ve seen it many times where the people can’t do this because they do not have parking tickets in the first place.”

SMSA are inundated with complaints by motorists that parking areas are a disaster zone, and that travelling time can take anything from an hour to three, which often leads to spectators reaching their seats inside the stadium after kickoff.

As always, according to Grobbelaar, SMSA are urging spectators to make use of public transport and further encourage fans to reach the stadium well in time for kick-off, and not at the last minute.

“It’s key that the message be carried to the spectators, not to intend getting to the FNB Stadium on the day of the Carling Cup right before the start of the event.

“We’ve put in place proper pre-match entertainment. Making sure that when spectators arrive early, they will be taken care of.

“At half-time there will be other opportunities for entertainment.”

Grobbelaar confirmed the Carling Cup had already been sold out, and that fans would be turned away on the day should they not have a ticket.

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