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Newlands in danger of missing out on hosting New Year's Test against England

General view of Newlands Stadium during the Mzansi Super League final in December 2018.
General view of Newlands Stadium during the Mzansi Super League final in December 2018.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Cricket South Africa's chief executive officer Thabang Moroe said there was a possibility that the iconic New Year's Test may not be held at Newlands due to the Western Province Cricket Association's financial and governance issues.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) sent out an email on Sunday saying they have exercised their step-in rights and appointed an administrator to take over the administrative‚ governance and financial affairs of Western Province Cricket Association's (WPCA) until all these respective functions have been placed on a satisfactory footing.

This has been done in terms of clauses 12.3 and 12.4 of CSA’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI).

In the email‚ CSA said it came to their attention that the WPCA Board has been conducting business under distressed conditions in relation to‚ inter alia‚ the WPCA’s administrative‚ governance and financial affairs.

Former WPCA chief executive Professor Andre Odendaal has been appointed as the administrator.

The WPCA has also not held an annual general meeting this year.

“We are worried as CSA that Newlands may not be able to host the New Year's test.

"They may not be able to but with us sitting around the table and working together as the mother body and the affiliate partner to ensure that the test match stays there and we are ready to host it‚” Moroe said.

“This includes getting the City of Cape Town involved and there's a big construction project going on there.

"There's the concern of safety as fans are concerned.

"The construction will affect how the test match is generally hosted‚ but there's a figurative and literal hole that needs to be filled.

"From a security perspective‚ we need to adhere to all the requirements and all involved have to be safe.

"We also need to uphold the ICC's hosting standards and the tourists and their fans need to be safe.”

Earlier this year‚ WPCA announced they had gone into a partnership with insurance giant Sanlam in regards with new office block development at the ground worth R750-million.

Sanlam was going to foot 51 percent of the bill with the union raising the remaining 49 percent.

IOL reported that four new office blocks were to be built in the old tennis courts area – at the Kelvin Grove End of the ground for leasing purposes.

Private tertiary institution Varsity College were reportedly earmarked for one of the buildings‚ with the first phase set to be done by December 2020.

With England being a money-spinning tour for CSA in every respect‚ there's an imperative that Newlands be in good working order for the January 2 match.

It's the biggest Test on the South African calendar and one that's always well attended‚ regardless of the opponents.

The England game is one of the biggest draw-cards and tickets are often sold out long before the game starts.

Moroe said they'll be meeting the WPCA next week‚ from where they can establish a deadline for the hosting of the test.

“There might not be a deadline but there will be one in the near future because we haven't met with them.

"We'll do so next week and see all the plans and the legal requirements of the South African Special Risks Association Act as an international hosting venue‚” Moroe said

“We can then say from there in terms of what is presented to us‚ this is the deadline which we think is reasonable in terms of a match being able to be played or not.”