Demolish Absa Stadium, Newlands - Jordaan

By Colleen Dardagan

The fate of some of South Africa's oldest stadiums, including Durban's Absa Stadium, is already decided despite the emotional debate expected to rage around the continued existence of these venues years from now.

Danny Jordaan, CEO of the 2010 Local Organising committee, said at the African Journalism Awards 2010 media debate in Durban on Friday that a decision to demolish the Boet Erasmus stadium in Port Elizabeth had already been taken and that both Newlands and the Absa stadium in Durban would share the same fate in time.

Responding to a question on whether or not the new stadiums would be white elephants once the World Cup was over, Jordaan said the lifecycle of any stadium was 50 to 70 years and that Newlands and the Absa stadium were reaching their sell-by date.

"This is an emotional debate that will go on for a long time, but who, once they have experienced the new, modern, sophisticated stadiums will want to go back to the old ones?

"South Africa has made a bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and if we win that the games will most certainly be hosted in the new stadiums. If that happened it would certainly help to move this debate along," he said.

Sharks rugby CEO Brian van Zyl, said the issue hadn't been raised with him.

"That's the first I've heard of it and its absolute nonsense. The first section of our stadium was built in 1995 and since then there have been major renovations. Jordaan's opinion of Absa is subjective.

"In any case, we have made a promise to all our stakeholders that before we make any decisions regarding this stadium we will consult with them through a transparent process. To date the indication from many of them is they don't want to move - I guess it could be considered an emotive issue, but it's about a culture."

Rob Wagner, managing director of the Western Province Rugby Union, said it was also the first he had heard of it.

"We own the stadium, there is no debt on it and it's probably one of the oldest rugby grounds in the world. It has heritage and tradition, why would we want to demolish it? I can't understand how Jordaan could have said that."

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