The City of Cape Town have reacted to Benni McCarthy’s criticism of the council after they were unable to provide the club with a suitable home venue for the their clash against Maritzburg United.
The Cape Town City coach earlier in the week lashed out at the council in an open letter where he accused the Capetonian municipality of favouritism towards Rugby and cricket in the City. City’s preferred home venue, Cape Town Stadium was unavailable as it was booked out for a Rugby event while Athlone Stadium has been left unable due to the drought affecting the province.
However, the City have reacted with shock to McCarthy and also John Comitis’ recent criticsm denying that Cricket and Rugby are given preferential treatment.
“We have an open-door policy with Cape Town City and Ajax Cape Town and the three National First Division clubs‚” Stuart Diamond‚ Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management was quoted by Sowetan as saying.
“We are there to give them compliant stadia. City has two‚ as per the PSL rules.
“I especially want to raise Alderman JP Smith who deals a lot with the amateur clubs. We have spent a lot of time sitting with our roleplayers and stakeholders‚ such as Safa-Cape Town‚ on how we grow the sport and get better facilities for them.
“And we’re putting better plans in action,” he added.
“I think that’s what shocked me the most about Benni’s letter. [City owner] John Comitis has my phone number. And they’ve always phoned.
“Last year‚ for example‚ they didn’t have training facilities.
“So we sat down with them and took them through the process that they would have to undergo to apply for grounds owned by the city. Which they have done and grounds were granted‚ and hopefully by January they can use those.
“So we’ve been working closely with the club and I suppose that’s the frustration with the letter,” he expressed.
Diamond though, also explained that the City have a responsibility to make the Stadium profitable.
“What we’ve done‚ and in conversations with various companies such as Stadium Management in Johannesburg‚ is to put on a package,” he explained.
“We realised we need solid anchor tenants‚ but also to buffer those up with events such as big concerts.
“One of the big strategic events is the Cape Town Sevens. It draws in 100 000 spectators and can generate millions for the city. It is televised around the world so has tourism spinoffs.
“So‚ yes‚ while it is unfortunate our football clubs are negatively impacted it isn’t something that the clubs who had fixtures this week would not have known about,” he continued.
“I am surprised that John did not try to write to the PSL and explain the situation‚ and ask for a switch to make this game the away game against Maritzburg United‚ then play the home game later in the season.”