Wed Oct 26 09:45:52 SAST 2016

We might be at Cape Town's mercy - Dipela

By unknown | Nov 13, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

The Premier Soccer League has predicted a "hellish" 2007/08 season in terms of the availability of venues.

The league had to reschedule fixtures for the remainder of the current season with teams like Kaizer Chiefs forced to move to the Loftus stadium from January.

Amakhosi will play their final game at Soccer City on December 9, the South African derby against Orlando Pirates.

The pool of venues will further decrease in the middle of next year with Loftus, Royal Bafokeng, Free State and Ellis Park stadiums all venues of the 2009 Confederations Cup due for renovation.

The tournament, in which World Cup and all continental champions take part, is the precursor to every Fifa World Cup.

While renovations on the Confederations Cup venues are earmarked for mid next year, the Orlando, Rand and Dobsonville stadiums would still be not ready for use.

Clearly, the broadside directed at Cape Town by sponsors and pundits for the Mother City's lack of interest in the beautiful game was rather immature.

"We might be at Cape Town's mercy," admitted PSL general manager, Andrew Dipela.

"We have to think ahead as to where will we stage the Telkom Charity (four teams take part in a one-day charity tournament), the derbies (between Pirates and Chiefs).

"The Newlands Stadium will be the only standing stadium with a bigger capacity.

"You do have your Mmabatho and Odi stadiums, but none of those can match Newlands when it comes to hospitality, the pitch and safety and security facilities. We have to engage with Newlands' authorities," Dipela said.

And with the rest of the fixtures, what does the PSL do? What, after Trevor Phillips emphasised that the focus was now shifting from building the PSL as a brand, ensuring good governance to raising the quality of the game on the field of play?

"Firstly," says Dipela, "PSL clubs must accept the reality that they might have to share facilities.

"We must engage with the teams to find a suitable arrangement.

"Local government must also be heavily involved.

"It is only through their involvement that we will be able to synchronise a move from a stadium where renovations are about to begin to where they have been completed," argued Dipela.

Dipela is aware that the fact that Ellis Park, Free State and Loftus will not be available from mid next year will also affect the rugby season.

"Which is why we have emphasised the question of convergence of the two sports. Fortunately, there already exists a relationship.

"The reality is that the Blue Bulls might end up moving some of their fixtures to Odi. We have to work together," he emphasised.

Dipela also stressed that while they engage municipalities for the use of certain fields, they will not demean the standards.

"We are aware that most of the facilities are unplayable only because of bad pitches.

"The league must be ready to invest and so is local government because that will form part of the 2010 legacy," he said.


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