ATHLETICS clubs based in and around Pretoria are up in arms with as many as five road races set to be cancelled in due to the unavailability of the Tshwane Metro Police during the Fifa World Cup.
The Metro Police will not be assisting with traffic regulation at any events in Tshwane that are not associated with the World Cup - which will be staged between June 11 and July 11 - during a six-week period between June 1 and July 15.
"One of our races, the Fanie Booysen Ice Breaker on June 19, has already been cancelled and if the other four event organisers can't find alternate venues soon they will be forced to cancel their races as well," AGN general manager Walter Vilakazi said yesterday.
Vilakazi said the provincial athletics body had informed the Metro of all the races on their calendar in "December or early January".
In late February, according to Vilakazi, AGN were informed via e-mail by Sean Bolhuis, commander of operational support for the Metro's community safety department, that the events scheduled during that six-week period would receive no assistance from the Metro.
After months of trying to find alternative arrangements, however, AGN and the organising clubs face a major financial blow.
"They have definitely not given us enough time to sort this out," Vilakazi said.
He said AGN was waiting for confirmation from the organisers of the Heroes of Atteridgeville race at Ga Mothaka Resort on June 26, but that race was likely to be abandoned as well.
Vilakazi said the province stood to lose around R50000 if the five events were cancelled, while the organising clubs "stand to lose a lot more".
"We are a non-profit organisation and we rely on the levies paid by the clubs for these races."
Inspector Cornel van der Walt of the Metro's sporting events department insisted that adding extra marshals would be illegal as they could not direct traffic. - Sapa