That's a foul! Cape Town hits back at Comitis over stadium threat
Cape Town City boss John Comitis has come under fire after he threatened to move September’s money-spinning fixture with Kaizer Chiefs from Cape Town Stadium to Newlands.
Comitis used his club’s Facebook page to voice his disappointment on Tuesday after 800 fans were locked out of Sunday’s MTN8 semi-final first-leg match between City and Bidvest Wits.
He said only 3‚800 fans were in Cape Town Stadium. “I went into the VOC [venue operations centre] to try and persuade the police and ticketing security to allow for at least 800 more sales. But my plea fell on deaf ears‚” he said
But the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management‚ Stuart Diamond‚ said they were bound by legislation not to sell more tickets than the 5‚018 which were already printed and sold.
He said Comitis had applied and paid for a crowd of 5‚000 and that the police and Premier Soccer League were bound to keep the crowd’s numbers within the allocated figure.
“In the case of Sunday’s game‚ the prescribed value was 5‚000‚ the total number of ticket sales was 5‚018. Those figures go to the police’s venue operations centre. Legally‚ from a safety and compliance point of view‚ they were not allowed to sell any more tickets‚” said Diamond.
“With what happened at FNB stadium‚ with what happened at Ellis Park and various other disasters‚ the PSL and SAPS take stadium security and people’s lives incredibly seriously.”
Diamond said Comitis chose the 5‚000-capacity model himself‚ and even if there were only 3‚800 people in the stadium when the game started‚ he had no way of knowing the other 1‚200 would not arrive later.
He dismissed Comitis’s claim that football was not treated with the same reverence as rugby‚ and said it would be “a great loss” if City’s game against Chiefs on September 13 was moved to Newlands.
“Cape Town Stadium is an aspirational place‚ I understand why John and [Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathiou] want to play there.
"What we are trying to do‚ around our Big Concerts events and other events‚ is to get as much football into the stadium as possible‚” said Diamond.
“No one has ever turned soccer away‚ so from my side there is an open-door policy‚ we’d love to see football at the stadium.”