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Football could play second or even third fiddle at a venue built for the World Cup‚ says Ajax Cape Town

By Mahlatse Mphahlele | 2017-05-25 13:43:14.0

Ajax Cape Town have indicated that they have stumbled on to reliable information that suggests they are about to lose their grip on Cape Town Stadium.

The Urban Warriors have been the main tenants at the 2010 World Cup stadium for the past seven years and they are concerned that they are about to be pushed down the pecking order by Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU).

“We are in the last year of our contract with the stadium and we have been trying to set up a meeting with the management to discuss a renewal‚” said Ajax commercial director Alexi Efstathiou.

“But they have not come back to us.

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“Maybe it is true that the deal between them and WPRU is eminent and that is the reason they are stalling.

“We don’t know the real reasons why they have not come back to us.

“It does not feel good because a couple of times this season we have had to move out of the stadium to find an alternative venue.

“There were bigger events like the Justin Bieber concert and others that were money-spinners for the stadium.”

WPRU declined to comment on the matter while Cape Town Stadium official Lesley de Reuck did not responded to questions emailed to him on Wednesday.

Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management for the City of Cape Town‚ Stuart Diamond‚ said the city is currently mid-stream through the process to establish a Municipal Entity (ME) for the stadium.

“The key element of this process is the formal establishment of the company‚ including the appointment of a board of directors‚” he said.

“Securing an anchor tenant(s) for the stadium remains a top priority for the city and obviously for the future ME.

“The city remains optimistic that this will be achieved in the near future and when meaningful traction is gained in this regard it will be duly communicated.”

Efstathiou said if rugby becomes the main tenants of the stadium‚ football will be at a huge disadvantage.

“If rugby becomes the primary tenants of the stadium‚ we will be at a disadvantage because their fixtures are released early‚” said Efstathiou.

“There are other issues that will see football continuing to play second or even third fiddle at a venue that was built for the World Cup.

“We understand that the stadium must be sustainable by attracting big events but we must be consulted so that we are part of a process that will provide a lasting.”

Cape Town City owner John Comitis told Times Media Digital he was not aware that WPRU could be moving into the stadium.

He echoed his Ajax counterparts and said they would also like to be part of a consultative process on the way forward because they also use the stadium.

“We arrived at the stadium at the beginning of the season when bookings had already been done but we managed to negotiate a better deal for ourselves‚” Comitis said.

“We are not aware that rugby will be moving into the stadium but if that happens we will position ourselves for the coming season.

“We will engage them as soon as our fixtures are out.”