World Cup venues still works in progress

28 November 2010 - 00:03 By KGOMOTSO MOKOENA

Municipalities and companies managing World Cup stadiums have been scrambling for money to prevent the venues from becoming white elephants.

Concern has been expressed that some World Cup stadiums are running the risk of being bulldozed - the fate of stadiums in Korea and Japan after the 2002 World Cup.

However, at least three of the stadiums have attracted substantial business.

The municipality of Polokwane has struck a deal that will see Kaizer Chiefs and various PSL clubs utilising the Peter Mokaba Stadium for matches.

Under the deal, the clubs no longer have to pay exorbitant fees to rent the stadium, with the municipality footing the bill and, in some instances, even paying for the team's accommodation. The clubs and the municipality will negotiate the division of the gate.

Negotiations are at an advanced stage in a deal that will see all PSL clubs taking part in the Confederation of African Football's continental competitions (Champions League and the Confederations Cup) using the Peter Mokaba Stadium as their base.

SuperSport United will represent SA in the Champions League with Bidvest Wits flying the flag in the Confederations Cup.

Access Facilities and Leisure Management, the company contracted to manage the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth has been working around the clock to ensure that the stadium generates revenue.

Stephan Pretorius, CEO of the company, says the Southern Kings and Eastern Province Kings rugby teams have a number of matches lined up.

"Western Province and Sharks will be here in June for the Currie Cup.

"The Bulls, Cheetahs and Lions will also play against the Southern Kings.

"There will also be a series of Vodacom Cup matches and another match against Argentina A. The Springboks will also play against the All Blacks here," said Pretorius.

"Then there is the Neil Diamond concert and a religious concert featuring famous preacher Angus Buchan.

"We will soon have confirmation regarding a WWE wrestling spectacle and we are hoping to get the Vodacom Challenge, at least one Bafana Bafana match next year and some PSL matches," he said.

Pretorius said it cost about R18-million a year to maintain the stadium and the company hoped to start making a profit or at least to break even by 2012.

People in Mpumulanga can look forward to five high-profile matches in the province's capital in the coming months following Mpumalanga Black Aces' announcement that they will host games against Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows at the Mbombela Stadium.