Lions mull moving to Soweto

2010-07-07 21:30

Johannesburg - The Golden Lions will be hoping to use the new National Stadium (currently Soccer City) as their base in future as they contemplate a move away from Ellis Park.

Lions president Kevin de Klerk confirmed that the union are looking to make the move across to Soweto a permanent fixture, after they decided to take the Tri-Nations Test between the Springboks and All Blacks to the same venue on August 21.

“It is a definite possibility and we are investigating the situation - but we walked a process with stakeholders for this test and will continue to do that with them to see what the possibilities are for a move for the Lions to Soccer City, " said De Klerk.

The Lions have been mulling such a move for a while now after dwindling crowds at their Ellis Park base have severly depleted the team’s fan base.

For a while now there have been complaints of fans not wanting to go to the stadium as they felt it was unsafe and the Lions are looking for a solution to this.

If the Soweto Test is a success, the National stadium could well become a Super 15 and Currie Cup home for the Lions as well.


  • LOL! - 2010-07-07 21:37

    What else will this clowns do to try and "buy" a win?Byebye Free State in S15 the Lions baught their right to be part of the S15 at the ANC offices

  • Gumpie - 2010-07-07 21:44

    So they can now make sure they have more people seeing them lose live. At the end of the super 14 last year there was hardly enough people in Ellis Park to fill 2 busses

  • RAKKA - 2010-07-07 22:05

    Are you sure this hasn't got something to do with the government trying to get rugby to pay for the stadiums? Smells like it!

  • KArl - 2010-07-07 22:12

    That's why the seats in the stadium were so dirty for the first WC game. No one had sat on them for a year.

  • Candace - 2010-07-07 22:17


  • the little cherub - 2010-07-07 22:29

    While they're about it, they may just as well switch to soccer.............they certainly can't play rugby!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Punter - 2010-07-07 22:33

    Yes Rakka lets play in a s****** and let the best stadiums be empty get a life idiot same with WP dump newlands and goto GreenPoint simply the best the new stadiums let ive it to the ANC goverment the soccer is a huge success well done

  • Theo - 2010-07-07 22:35

    The World Cup Stadiums are an opportunity for Rugby Administrators to think laterally and re-structure the game in this country. Why not move the Falcons franchise to Polokwane and the Pumas to Nelspruit? The American gridiron franchises move to cities that buy them all the time. Ellis Park is not doing it for the Lions. Why don't EP move to Nelson Mandela Bay? Use the opportunity to strengthen rugby, not maintain the ghosts of demographics of years past!! Bok and SA Rugby first!!!!

  • Deon - 2010-07-07 22:39

    Brings tears to my eyes to hear this...Ellis Park is iconic and thinking about the hundreds of millions the goverment spend on all these stadiums which is going to become white elephants...You have to wonder why some of that wasn't rather spend on Ellispark and its surroundings...Making it a nicer place for all....

  • Rian - 2010-07-07 22:48

    I think the bigger factor responsible for the 'dwindling crowds' is not so much the location of Ellispark or 'safety concerns, but rather that nobody wants to keep paying good money just to see the Not-so-Golden Lions' lose again and again. If they don't start jacking up their game pretty soon, a move to Soccer City is not going to save them. If anything, there will be even more empty seats glaring on TV...

  • POLLENYS - 2010-07-07 23:32

    Please note: The stadium is not in Soweto. It reverts back to being called FNB Stadium on 18 July. Play wherever you like, just ban the vuvuzelas.

  • EMIL - 2010-07-07 23:41


  • Cobus - 2010-07-07 23:49

    Theo, Eastern Province is already in Nelson Mandela Bay. They are, however, moving from the EP Rugby Stadium (the old Boet Erasmus as most people still know it) to the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Both of these are situated in Port Elizabeth, which falls under Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

  • Bonzi - 2010-07-07 23:56

    Hmmm...I wonder how the 'National Stadium' is going to look with 2000 die hard Lions supporters, a little more empty than Ellis Park. Hopefully a move to Ellis Park will attract black support for the Lions, and maybe they can reinvent themselves as a new unit, and thereby re-attract their traditional supporters. Could be good for the Lions, rugby as a game in SA, and even SA. I was in Soweto for the S14 final, and there was more than enough black support. Maybe the Lions can steal the Bulls place in the sun. I say do it, and bring the game to the townships, and give the ppl a stake in rugby. Before that happens, however, its going to look a funny sight with 2000 fans in a 94000-seater.

  • Sthibo - 2010-07-08 00:10

    Not a chance!! Stay in Doornfontein. Soccer City is a football stadium finish en klaar. Chiefs were refused to use it as a home venue because the managing company doesnt want a permanent tenant, yet they will allow a crap rugby team that doesnt even draw the kind of crowds Chiefs can.Next Bafana and our cup finals will have to beg rugby for its use as per Loftus,Ellis Park,Newlands,Bloemfontein...

  • Mark - 2010-07-08 04:44

    I dont get it! The Lions play with 50 000 empty seats at Ellis Park and now they want to play with 80 000 empty seats.......Move to Ruimsig or something......

  • Chris du Plessis - 2010-07-08 05:06

    Changing stadiums is not going to draw crowds - winning is. Only benefit in moving to Soccer City, is that they may receive BE status that will prevent them being kicked out of Super 15.

  • WTF - 2010-07-08 05:21

    Safety at the stadium ??? Lol maybe if they could actually win a game or 2 people would actually want to watch them play. What a waste giving a beautifull stadium to the LIONS we've seen how dead ellis park looks on tv when they play there imagine what it would look like at soccer city 90 fans for 90 000 seats

  • Lionel - 2010-07-08 06:45

    Best news ever, it is about time Ellis got assigned to the scrapheap, I am sure they can make more money out of the land by turning it into a parking structure for the BRT! This will bring rugby into the townships even more and can only grow the game, go for it Lions

  • Brian - 2010-07-08 07:02

    Let the Lions start winning and then Ellis Park will fill up. It has nothing to do with Safety. Yes, Ellis Park area is not in the the greatest area, but if the Lions start winning, then the Satdium will fill up, then they can use that extra money in making Ellis Park a better place. Do not get rid of the history of Ellis Park.

  • Joke again !!! - 2010-07-08 07:15

    And what will happen to Ellis Park? Such a move might save the Lions as they don't have any players of note or supporters left. Why did they wait for so long or are they scared the Bulls might steal their last two spectators as well. Sorry guys, the fact that the Bulls took their two final games in Super 14 to Soweto (had no other choice) and played winning rugby might well have already cost you a fan base that was waiting all these years for you to include them. Saw a TV program about the Super 14 finals in Soweto while in Mauritius and the chairman of the Soweto Rugby Club clearly stated that all these years the Lions simply ignored them. It again took a side like the Bulls to go into their back yard and show them the future. As I have said so many times before - poor, poor administration is killing the Lions and the Cheetahs. It has been going on for years. At least Ellis Park gets filled with Bok rugby, but Bloefontein couldn't even sell out a test between the All Black and the Boks. I hope more test will in future also be allocated to the new stadium in PE, where the people support rugby. Poor test attendance and those common Harley Davidson’s do not justify hosting any further tests in Bloemfontein. I just hope Soweto will have the same effect on test teams as Ellis Park. Ellis Park is a wonderful stadium and is feared by most test nations.

  • @ Theo - 2010-07-08 07:27

    I agree with your proposal. Soccer doesn't pay and the future sustainability of the new stadiums depends on rugby as well. The one problem is that the Nelspruit stadium pitch is not big enough for rugby. These asshole were given R1.3 billion and they weren't competent enough to ensure the playing field is big enough for rugby too. They tries to convince everyone in Nelspruit that a rugby pitch will in fact fit, but what they completely forgot is the fact that rugby needs clearance outside the playing field too as it is a contact sport. Can you imagine Bakkies Botha driving or tackling a player over the sideline and right into the concrete walls or even right into row 5 of the pavilion. Nelspruit received 4 fairly pathetic low class soccer games and now what? Did we build this white elephant for 4 useless games? We don't even have a soccer team. The Mpumalanga rugby and Black Aces soccer teams have no intention of moving to Nelspruit. Remember most of their players stay in JHB and Pretoria and travel daily for practice. They don't wanna move and it doesn't look like they are going to move. So, Nelspruit community will in years to come have to pay for maintenance of an empty stadium in the bush. Nice one!!!

  • Paul - 2010-07-08 07:33

    I wonder how a stadium that takes 90000 people, will look when the 4000 remaining Lions fans rock up for the match? They can organize one train to take them there...!

  • LBJ - 2010-07-08 07:35

    Banning vuvuzelas certainly won't help their cause. It doesn't where they play, they'll still be rubbish.

  • Garreth - 2010-07-08 07:35

    i personally feel that it will be a huge waste of money to move the lions to soccer city as they cant even fill a staudium with half the seats. and its not where the stadium is situated but the show the team puts on. work at getting the crowd them go for a bigger stadium wen you hit capacity at every game.

  • Chris in Oz - 2010-07-08 07:38

    I don't think you should blame the stadium for poor crowds at Lions games. No-one wants to see the Lions play. No matter where they play. If you break all the wrong S14 records (13 losses, most points conceded, etc), expect to see smaller crowds......

  • nosferatos - 2010-07-08 07:53

    A move to a new stadium won't improve the fans going to watch the lions play management, team selectors and under performing players need to be sacked a once to be reckoned with union now in shambles due to under performance in all aspects. Rather create a new rugby union seperate from the lions at the FNB staduim. Problem solved

  • BornLion - 2010-07-08 08:08

    This might not be such a bad idea, we need to "restart" the Lions franchise and what a better way of doing this with a new coach, new stadium and possibly a lot of new fans, bringing the game to the people of Soweto might just add to the fanbase. Not such a bad idea, but what happens to Ellis Park? Or as the name suggests make "The National Stadium" just that, similar to a Wembley type stadium, only national teams, Currie Cup Final, Big Soccer Finals etc.

  • What a joke - 2010-07-08 08:14

    Yip, dwindling numbers because of pathetic rugby... these guys need to do some HONEST soul searching... de-franchise the Golden Lions, just like Eastern Province... changing venue? what a joke...

  • Callie - 2010-07-08 08:20

    Leeus kan nie eers Ellispark vol maak nie en ordentlike span kies nie. Wie gaan betaal vir die stadion. Herstruktuering van Leeus topbestuur lyk my was nie voldoende nie

  • Little Lion - 2010-07-08 08:47

    If it moves there I will buy a season ticket next year guaranteed! I refuse to go to Ellis Park because of so many incidents of crime.

  • Sharkey - 2010-07-08 08:48

    WHAT A JOKE. Is the whole country going Soweto crazy made. What a waste of time, effort and money.

  • Deon - 2010-07-08 08:49

    Soccer City is a awesome stadium. I think moving the Lions there will be the biggest mistake. They don't attract enough fans and after all its a soccer stadium. They field will not cope with all that rugby. they spent 10 million rand getting a Rye grass surface in for the world cup and the rugby will destroy that. Keep the Stadium for Semi - Finals and finals of MTN top 8, Nedbank Finals, Soweto Derby's, Telkom Charity Cup and 1 rugby test every year or 2.

  • Clint - 2010-07-08 08:59

    I have always been a Lions fan and its rediculous to think that if they changed venues spectator numbers will increase.I never feel unsafe goin to Ellis Park and none of my mates stopped supporting 'die wit en rooi majien' because of the venue.If they want to see supporters in teir numbers they need to one simple thing......GET A RUGBY TEAM!!!!!!!!!!! I will always be a Lions supporter but who honestly wants to go pay to watch a pathetic losing side?The Lions have become a joke and its become embarrassing to watch them,sorry old Baywatch....we still love you !!

  • The Voice of Reason - 2010-07-08 09:53

    I can only hope that the GLRU are not allowed to move all their matches to Soccer City. The stadium is meant to be used for Soweto derbies, and cup finals. We can't have the pitch in poor condition for the most important games in SA. A test match once a year is ok, but not rugby every month. The GLRU should stay at Ellis Park, or move to a smaller Joburg venue. The only reason for having a 60 000 seater is hosting tests. Joburg Stadium is next door and holds 30 000. I'd like to see them take at least one game per year to Orlando Stadium.

  • Jo - 2010-07-08 10:49

    BHAHAHAHA, do they actually think they can get 90,000 people to watch one of their games? and pay for it? BHAHAHA. this funny :D

  • Paul - 2010-07-08 10:54

    To even consider such a move is pathetic. No passion, no pride, no tradition. Ellispark is one of the most famous rugby venues in the world.

  • Jarrod - 2010-07-08 11:23

    HAHAHA as die Lions dink dat hulle die 94 700 seater vol gaan maak vir 'n Currie Cup game,Super 14 game, dan moet hulle weer dink..Ja dit is wel groter, maar hulle moet eers weer wen sodat hulle Ellis Park vol kan kry. Dan het Ellis Pard baie geskiedenis. Ellis Park is die stadium waar die Bokke in 1995 die World Cup gelig het.. Dit was die beste stadion in die land.. Wat gaan dan van so 'n great stadion word???

  • Lion Supporter - 2010-07-08 12:06

    I wonder how many of you commenting actually are supporters, we dont boo the lions off the field ALa guppie supporters. I bet most of you never even go to a rugby match never mind to Ellis park.

  • Lions Man - 2010-07-10 08:54

    Ek kan nie die logika verstaan nie. Dit het niks met EllisPark te doen nie. Die plek was vol met elke sokkerwedstryd. Die hele omgewing rondom doe die stadium is oorgedoen, daar is 'n juwe parkeer garage. Die probleem lê by die span en die hele spul daar. Daar is nie meer passie by die Leeus nie. kry julle Rugby weer op dreef en dan sal EllisPark vol word. Waarom die park amper vol wanneer die Leeus teen die Sharks, WP en Bulle spaeel. Die ondersteuners van die Bulle, Sharks en WP is nie bang om EllisPark toe te gaan nie, net die Leeu ondersteuners is te bang, want hulle is bang vir pakslae.

  • Ellis Park - 2010-07-10 09:27

    What is the real story about the move? They will not fill up Soccer City without paying good Rugby. Winning Rugby will bring the Supporters back to EllisPark. Why does EllisPark fill up when the Lions plays the winning unions (Bulls etc). Doesnt seem that these supporters are worried about the position where EllisPark is.

  • Lou - 2010-07-12 04:50

    What? The reason people don’t go to Ellispark is because of the area - the reason people won't go to Soweto would be because of the area. Kevin - if you want to be politically correct then call it that. The reason why you are haemorrhaging supporters is because the rugby you play is bellow standard - not the area. The reason why you are haemorrhaging players is because the Lions management sucks. Fix that first.

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