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Benni McCarthy blasts city for stadium debacle

Posted: 30 November 2017 Time: 12:06

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy has launched a scathing attack on the City of Cape Town for their latest venue debacle.

City have been forced to take next Tuesday’s scheduled league encounter against Maritzburg United, originally set for Athlone Stadium, to Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal. Athlone’s pitch has been deemed unfit for an Absa Premiership fixture, while Cape Town Stadium is being used for the upcoming Rugby Sevens World Series event.

City are no stranger to fixture hindrances, changing venue to accommodate other events, yet have now been forced to take next week’s fixture to their opponent’s home province due to the late call, so as not to hinder Maritzburg’s travel plans.

“We must play in KZN as Maritzburg is from KwaZulu-Natal,” the club wrote on social media. “So to move the fixture from Western Cape last minute because of facilities we cannot inconvenience the other team. It is forced.

"When you have to [make an] emergency change to the venue after the allocated days, the away team loses flights and bookings and you cannot inconvenience them further to book another set of flights and bookings. To not lose the points, we must play in KZN."

The matter has left coach McCarthy fuming.

“It is a dark day for football,” he said in a press statement.

“I’ve been away from Cape Town for 21 years and while so much has changed, nothing has changed. Cape Town City FC is a club that has captured the imagination and dreams of Capetonians from all walks of life. With little assistance it has brought endless accolades to Cape Town and united its people.

“However, it is with great sadness to my players, this club, our fans, and all the football loving people of CapeTown that we must confirm that our upcoming home match versus Maritzburg United will be played away from home in Durban. From a footballing perspective, a win will take this City top of the log in the nation’s most prestigious competition. And to play that crucial game in the oppositions Province (where KZN were easily able and willing to accommodate us) is quite frankly hurtful and embarrassing.

“The Cape Town Stadium is unavailable due to the setting up of Rugby 7s, but we have become accustomed to being removed from Cape Town Stadium for events far less significant. It blows my mind how a stadium that only exists because of the Soccer World Cup, cannot be reserved for 15 out of 365 days for the City’s premium soccer team.

“Football has been sold lies in Cape Town. When there is a private wedding, the stadiums are ready. When there’s a rugby competition, the stadiums are ready. When there’s a nitro circus car event, the stadiums are ready. For football, Cape Town’s World Cup stadium – unavailable. Athlone Stadium – used by a thousand tenants and has become a sand patch. Newlands – unavailable.Make an emergency plan at another venue across the entire Western Cape – um, sorry we didn’t think that far ahead. But our fixtures are no secret?

“It’s about planning and willingness – and I cannot believe that our officials cannot see the immense commercial, cultural, and community impacts that Cape Town City FC has in this city. The power of football changes lives, and brings people together. It is the people’s game. When will Cape Town City have a home?

“When will “WE” have a home? The only way the severity of this treatment can be understood, is ironically through the eyes of Rugby. Imagine the Stormers, with a chance to go top of the log, were told that they must play their next crucial home game against the Sharks in Durban. Season tickets sold, fans eagerly awaiting, and the players prepared to represent Cape Town. It’s hard to imagine it, because it will never happen. Football people, although an overwhelming majority in this country, do not seem to count as much in Cape Town.

“With all that has been said and promised, the old reality has returned. Football in Cape Town has been forced into exile.”

Article by: Fabio De Dominicis
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