Cape Town - City of Cape Town Councillor Garreth Bloor, a mayoral committee member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, has issued a statement responding to the recent speculation surrounding Kaizer Chiefs using the Cape Town Stadium for three home matches.
The recent misinformation with regard to Kaizer Chiefs using Cape Town Stadium as an alternative home ground have resulted in the public being incorrectly informed.
The City’s responsibility to its ratepayers is to ensure the financial viability of the Cape Town Stadium, in order to further reduce costs. The Cape Town Stadium was built to serve as a public good, like most stadiums around the world. We endeavour to minimise the financial impact on the ratepayer through the cost-effective hosting of events and through ensuring that the opportunities presented are acted upon.
Any opportunity to reduce the associated costs should be welcomed.
Contrary to many reports, the proposal for Kaizer Chiefs to play at the Cape Town Stadium has not been approved by the City. To say this was a done deal was both premature and pre-emptive.
The allegation that the City wooed Kaizer Chiefs is simply incorrect. The rights owner to Kaizer Chiefs, Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA), identified the Cape Town Stadium as a venue for three of their home games due to the unavailability of FNB Stadium for certain dates.
The three Kaizer Chiefs games in no way impact on the Ajax Cape Town (CT) matches scheduled for the stadium. Ajax CT does indeed have a multi-year contract, as do a number of other event/conference promoters, but no contract has an exclusivity clause. Neither are we required to seek permission from each entity to host similar events at the stadium.
There are unfounded accusations being levelled at the City about payment being made to the team and suggestions that the City has sweetened the deal to attract them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The rights owner’s financial proposal places them at a higher financial risk than the City of Cape Town. In this regard, they will be paying a rental and the Cape Town Stadium’s direct costs. They have gone as far as guaranteeing the projected income from the sale of food and beverages, hospitality and advertising. After each match, there will be a cost recovery by both parties as well as 50/50 share in revenue. Kaiser Chiefs is known to draw crowds in excess of 35 000 per weekend match.
For Ajax CT to cry foul is quite surprising – since they do not pay a rental, do not pay for City costs, and do not share the risk proportionally for the use of the stadium.
Perhaps Ajax CT should focus their energy on building their brand locally. For the 14/15 season, excluding the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates matches, the highest number of tickets sold was 1 874, with the lowest being a mere 156 tickets sold.
Let me also state that Kaizer Chiefs did not play in the Cape Town Cup due to another commitment and not because of a purported R2 million that was offered to them. This is simply not true.
The expectation for soccer development is once again being passed onto the City. I would like to clarify that development of sport is not the competency of local government. Our role is to provide the facilities for various sporting codes, especially in our communities where this has been lacking. The City’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department has installed 27 synthetic soccer pitches to date at a cost of R93 million, and two more are planned for the current financial year at an additional cost of R10 million. The 27 includes 17 full-sized pitches and 10 five-a-side synthetic pitches in communities across the city.
My question to SAFA Cape Town is: who is really most affected by Kaizer Chiefs’ decision to play at the Cape Town Stadium? What about the thousands of Kaizer Chiefs fans – would this not be an indictment on them should these home games be pulled from the city?
Again, as Capetonians, this should be seen as a great opportunity to bring back the crowds to the stadium and should be embraced by all.