'Football doesn’t matter to the Cape Town Stadium‚' says irate City owner John Comitis
Cape Town City owner John Comitis has launched a scathing attack on the City of Cape Town and the management of the Cape Town Stadium after the club was forced to move their home clash against Stellenbosch FC on Saturday to the Athlone Stadium.
Comitis says the club was informed on Monday that the pitch at the Cape Town Stadium would not be ready for the new season‚ forcing them out of the 2010 Ffifa World Cup venue.
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“It is with anger and frustration that the much-anticipated first Western Cape derby between Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC has been moved out of the Cape Town Stadium‚” Comitis said.
“This follows confirmation by the Cape Town Stadium yesterday [Monday]‚ four days before the major event‚ that the field has in fact not been prepared for the start of the season and is unplayable for football.
“This is yet another careless and undermining of professional football in Cape Town by the Cape Town Stadium management.
"The club has a multi-year contract with the Cape Town Stadium and is now entering its fourth year in a partnership as a tenant.
“It is no secret that the league starts in August and the opening home game against Stellenbosch had been booked and agreed in advance between both the club and the city’s venue.”
Comitis said the move would hit the club hard in the pocket as they had prepared to start the season with some fanfare and will now see the attendance‚ both corporate and for the casual fan‚ drop off significantly.
“The city does not understand the severity of the consequences both in sporting and financial terms‚" the irate City boss said.
"The implications and damages relating to being kicked out of the Cape Town Stadium at the last minute are astronomical.
“In the last day we have had to cancel corporate and sponsorship activity‚ ticket bookings in the thousands (including tourists)‚ suite bookings and risk losing national broadcasting.
"This costs the sport and the club millions.
“As early as June the club stressed the importance of the opening home fixture being at the Cape Town Stadium‚ raising concerns over the surface after various non-sporting events such as Monster Trucks had been accepted before the start of the season.
“However‚ we were assured the pitch would be ready. It’s not.”
Comitis says it is another sign that the City of Cape Town is a hindrance to the growth of football‚ rather than an enabler.
“Could one imagine a situation where a Sevens rugby or a music concert was called off four days before a booked event at the Cape Town Stadium? It is impossible because it would not happen and litigation would follow.
“Football doesn’t matter to the Cape Town Stadium.
"It is ironic when I consider the time I spent working with the PSL and Safa on the 2010 World Cup bid‚ from which the stadium was built.
“How long can our venues be managed by people who don’t understand the cultural and historical value of football in our society?”
TimesLIVE attempted to get comment from the Cape Town Stadium and City of Cape Town but none were forthcoming at the time of publishing.