PSL shoots down City's Chiefs match at Cape Town Stadium

21 August 2019 - 15:45 By Marc Strydom
General view of the Cape Town Stadium.
General view of the Cape Town Stadium.
Image: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images

Cape Town City have had to make an abrupt about-turn from their assertion this afternoon that Tuesday’s Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs will go ahead at Cape Town Stadium‚ instead reverting back to Newlands Rugby Stadium.

City chairman John Comitis had told TimesLIVE on Wednesday afternoon that the relaid pitch at Cape Town Stadium had passed an inspection and been passed fit for next week’s match against Amakhosi.

However‚ it turns out that inspection by City and the municipality was not sufficient for complete safety purposes.

Soon after that PSL COO Ronnie Schloss arrived at Green Point’s 2010 World Cup semifinal venue and conducted a more technical pitch test‚ which Cape Town Stadium failed by some margin.

Comitis said he immediately contacted Newlands Rugby Stadium‚ who had been been keen to host the money-spinning league fixture‚ and they have confirmed their availability to City’s chairman for Tuesday’s match-up.

“Ronnie Schloss arrived later‚ and did a traction test‚ and the pitch failed it‚” Comitis told TimesLIVE‚ after initially saying that Cape Town Stadium would host the game.

“The traction test is for the grade of the grass‚ and when the boot changes direction on it‚ how it holds together‚ or if the boot will get stuck under it or rips out the grass.

“The pitch scored a number 18‚ and 40 is deemed acceptable. And in the space of a week the most it can improve is four or five points maximum.

“So it would not have been ready by Tuesday. And the decision not to play on it is based on the injuries it can cause to players.

“So I have been in contact with Newlands already‚ and they have said they will make things happen for the match to take place there.

“So as far as we are concerned the match will now definitely go ahead at Newlands on Tuesday.”

Cape Town Stadium chief executive Lesley de Reuck apologised to everyone affected by the match ot being held at the Green Point football venue.

"We are immensely disappointed with this situation as we have worked tirelessly to get the pitch up to standard," De Reuck said in an email.

"Unfortunately, the improved weather conditions have come in too late to have the desired impact that we had hoped for.

"We are most distraught for the fans of both teams who had expected to watch this top-flight match played at the Cape Town Stadium. We sincerely apologise to everybody that this has affected.

"Rest assured that we will continue in our efforts to have the pitch brought to Fifa standards."

Cape Town Stadium has not been ready for football – forcing City to seek alternate venues – early in the 2019-20 season due to the pitch not having recovered in time from being relaid after a Monster Jam auto spectacle held there at the end of April. Adverse weather conditions meant that germination of the new seeds was slow.

This sparked an angry statement in reaction from Comitis‚ who accused the stadium’s management of not serving football as they should.

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