The South African Football Association (SAFA CT) is refusing to vacate the Athlone Stadium despite an order from the City of Cape Town to do so.

The stadium will be unable to host games from February onwards, as there are a number of health and safety concerns.

“We are going nowhere, that is the home of football and that is where we will launch all of our activities from,” Bennett Bailey, SAFA CT president, said to EWN.

Bennet adds that firstly, it is not an area which is zoned for business.

“And then secondly, it’s for safety and health reasons, so those were the main reasons they advanced to us as to why we should vacate the office. We advanced to them that we are not a business, we are a public benefit organisation and registered as such. We are a community-based organisation so we do not qualify under the first one.”

Bennet also added that SAFA CT is of the opinion that the City could highlight the health and safety reasons, so that the organisation can come up with a solution to deal with these.

“The Athlone Stadium, like any other such facility, has to comply with national legislation in terms of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA) No 2 of 2010. The SASREA was promulgated essentially to provide for measures to safeguard the physical well-being and safety of persons and property at various events held at stadiums,” the City said.

The City’s order to vacate stipulates that SAFA CT has until Thursday, January 31, 2019 to move out of the stadium.

“While the City is not obligated to find any of the tenants alternative accommodation, the City has attempted to accommodate the tenants, and has offered SAFA Cape Town alternative premises at the Old Mfuleni Clinic but they regrettably declined. As a result, the City has made the said premises available to other Athlone Stadium non-profit users. Subsequently, SAFA Cape Town has been offered space at the nearby Vygieskraal Stadium by the City’s Recreation and Parks Department,” the City added.

“Should the Athlone Stadium not be compliant in terms of legislation, and lose its Grading Certificate, this will have dire consequences for all sport and cultural events that are hosted at the facility, not just soccer,” it said. “The SAFA Cape Town office located at the Athlone Stadium was performing a purely administrative function. Therefore, the nature of their operations can be performed at any accessible location within Cape Town. In addition, the registration of players can be done at a convenient City facility by booking a venue in terms of the applicable City policies.”

Picture: SAFA CT

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