THE Western Province Rugby Football Union has suspended talks with the City of Cape Town to move the home of local rugby from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium.
This was over a “breach of confidentiality” by the city, but the union (WPRFU) would not elaborate on what went wrong.
Responding to a letter sent by the WPRFU on Tuesday, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille wrote to Theuns Roodman, its chief executive.
She also sent the letter to the media, saying talks had been suspended over a “breach of confidentiality” – which the city has asked for proof of.
WPRFU president Tobie Titus said: “That letter is confidential, it’s between us and the city and we are not going to comment. If the mayor wants to make her letter public, that is her prerogative, but we regard it as confidential.
“We confirm that we suspended the talks, but I don’t want to delve into it too much and we will speak to the council again about it at some stage.”
The city has been in talks with the union for months about a possible move to the Cape Town Stadium. Last week the Cape Times reported that the city would have had to spend R120 million to lure the union to the venue as it would have to add more hospitality suites, among other things.
De Lille also explained how the city negotiated with English squad Saracens to contest the Heineken Cup at the Cape Town Stadium.
The WPRFU announced on Tuesday that the Heineken game between Saracens and French squad Biarritz, on January 14, should be played at the Newlands Stadium, and not at the Cape Town Stadium, where the club applied to play.
Mayoral committee member for tourism, marketing and events Grant Pascoe said last week that the Heineken match would be played at the Cape Town Stadium.
In De Lille’s letter, she said the Cape Town Stadium was approached by Saracens to host the match.
“The city entered into negotiations with Edward Griffiths, the CEO of Saracens, to assess the viability of different commercial models that will underpin the hosting of the match at the stadium.
“Before concluding a firm offer, the city requested confirmation that the International Rugby Board (IRB) and the South African rugby authorities had endorsed the match,” De Lille said.
Griffiths gave confirmation in letters from the IRB and the South African Rugby Union (Saru) that they sanctioned the match. The city was informed that Saracens chose the Cape Town Stadium, and a public announcement to that effect was made, De Lille said.
It is believed that the “breach of confidentiality” that WPRFU referred to is related to the announcement by Pascoe before the union made a decision on the venue.
De Lille said: “The city is aware that Saracens had engaged with your union on the hosting of this match. It has also come to our attention that Rob Wagner, from your commercial wing, was informed of the outcome of the Saracens decision to host the match at the Cape Town Stadium.”
Saru spokesman Andy Colquhoun said they had given permission for the match to be played in Cape Town but told Saracens it was on condition that the WPRFU approved the venue.
De Lille said it was a business and destination marketing decision to host Saracens.
“At no stage did we intend to dishonour our ongoing and amicable discussions with you (WPRFU) by entering into a commercially viable agreement with Saracens,” De Lille said.
The city has asked to speak to the management of the WPRFU to lift the suspension and restart talks.
“I am aware that the Saracens decision may have had unintended consequences (negative reactions from your stakeholders). This was never our intention. Nor was it an attempt to pre-empt any decision of a move of Western Province Rugby to the Cape Town Stadium,” she said.
What the hell has this game got to do with WPRFU or SARU. Firstly, only Saracens, Biarritz and their rugby unions should have a say in where their game will be played. Secondly, if they approached Cape Town directly and didn't approach WPRFU first, it has nothing to do with WPRFU or with SARU. Cape Town should host the game at their stadium as they are the ones that have been approached and who have negotiated the deal. This is just typical of the arrogance of these dinosaurs that seem to somehow squirm into the top positions of sports administration in South Africa and who are there only for the good of their own back pocket!
Andy P, wrote
The match is a one off and not part of the SA rugby fixture list and is therefore a bonus to rugby fans. So rather than request a cut of the income, not been there but sounds like Newlands is living on past glories, that could be used to tidy up Newlands, the WPRFU are behaving in a similar self obsessed why to the RFU and ruined it for the Fans and local economy. I wasn't aware that SA was doing so well that it was happy to turn away thousands of fans looking for accomodation etc. All a bit childish really.
Just bulldoze the damn thing and extend the Urban Park
Most of you are looking at this the wrong way. It has nothing to do with the old newlands stadium as is against this fantastic modern day stadium. hell yeah it would be better to play rugby there. BUT. For WPRFU it makes no financial sense at all. THEY OWN NEWLANDS, the gate receipt is all theirs, clear profit, - AT THE CT SOCCER STADIUM they wont get the gate receipt, only a part of it. Now how does that make financial sense. And dont come with the dumb argument about lack of trophies and old farts. have some facts.
To all who talk about bailing out the stadium. That's got nothing to do with this discussion. This is about 10000 more fans getting to see the game. Take politics out of this
yet another expert, wrote
Cape Town Stadium is prefect for rugby? If that was true, why did the City offer to spend R120 million to make it more suitable to WPRFU's needs? The stadium was designed and build to FIFA's specifications to host soccer. No other sport was taken into consideration when this was done. The stadium should have been build as a multipurpose venue in the first place. Either fork out the money and convert it into a multipurpose venue, or knock it down. How many soccer games have been played there since the world cup? Home many international soccer games? Are Santos and Ajax playing all their games there? The PSL moves games to Kimberly, why not CT? It is very difficult to get tickets for T20 and ODI games at Newlands because the ground is so small. Imagine how nice it would have been if those could be played in the CT stadium. If only we had planned...
yet another expert, wrote
Let me join my fellow experts by voicing my opinion. First, what has this got to do with WPRFU? Just like roads (and even stadiums) don't just maintain themselves, sport does not just happen. There are various people and organisations involved in organising it. The IRB sits at the top of world rugby. SARU is a member of the IRB and the WPRFU is a member of SARU. So, Saracens request works its way through the system, using a set of predefined rules and protocols. One of these states that WPRFU gets to decide where the game will be played if it is to be played in their back yard. Saracens hope to cash in on the WPRFU's fans, who are some of the most lucrative in the world. They are not doing this to be nice to CT rate payers. They want to make money. The WPRFU thinks it is best to do this at Newlands. The better question is, why are other people sticking their noses into this?
Newlands is paid for, why dump WPRU in the soccer debt?
I am sick and tired of these old farts who run WP rugby. There are no cups, crap decisions about selling local players, shocking toilet and bar facilities stupid "BIG' screen o parking etc,etc
If Cape Town Stadium was approached by Saracens to host the match, I don’t see what it has to do with WPRFU! Let Cape market is stadium as it feels fit. I do understand the financial implications why WPRFU don’t want to move their own home fixtures from Newlands but this Saracens match should have nothing to do with SA Ruby in any form. With the continuing disappointment in our ruby, maybe we would have some silver ware if The City of Cape Town takes over the WP rugby team and the Western Cape Government runs the Stormers rugby team.
Out with the old & in with the new. Look, its true what Juan says, but then again, why not now let the tax payers get what they are paying for?? World Class stadium with world class performcances!! Its true newlands is a traditionally classic rugby ground, but I think its time to move on. Further, the tax payer will suffer more for the stadium standing there and being paid for by the tax payer without us getting anything from it. So CCT, I'm with you all the way and trust you guys will be able to persuide the rugby bosses of the WC otherwise
Who were the "OLD FARTS" that built the white elephant...now it is everyone elses problem, they were told NOT to. Why must WPRU pay for the City's mess.
"As a South African we look at those white elephants and see that we have achieved something," Sascoc Sam
As a young rugby referee, I can remember standing on the field at Newlands, dreaming of refereeing a match there one day. That never happened due to injury that stopped me from refereeing. I returned to Newlands not so long ago to see what it was still like. IT STINKS!!! The stadium was dirty and there is no parking close by. Unless the stadium can be fixed and parking obtained, I SAY GO CT STADIUM.
So let's cut off our nose to spite our face. Instead of giving everyone a wonderful experience of playing and watching at the Cape Town Stadium the usual closed and blinkered rugby supporters want it played at Newlands. Work for the country for a change and showcase a beautiful venue. Be seen as gracious and charitable hosts and give everyone a chance to see the game. Good heavens, we can't do that!! We will cling to traditional stadium in the face of every request. Obviously there are financial considerations and the Council is also expected to do it's bit to make sure that it is a win-win situation but for heavens sake behave like adults!
Why don't the city just deny all public gatherings in and around the stADIUM. Apllication needs to be made to the city when there is a game on any way.
WPRFU. A bunch of "old farts" whose sad and "old fart" attitude leaves the WP trophy cabinet BARE in spite of having money and resources. Shame on them
Why would WPRFU want to go to another venue? They own Newlands, it is a sports venue famous world wide. Let FIFA pay for the upkeep with the billions they made from 2011. Everyone who has half a brain knew that the 2011 would be a financial disaster, which it was (except for Dannie Jorddan and his mob who received unrealistic bonus pay-outs) doiing a job they vwere paid for anyway. And now these clowns want to try to go for the Olympics, which will cost us billions once again. Canada and Spain are still paying out as well as China - only the IOC gets the benefit. Are we all stupid or what?
What has this to do with WPRFU? They aren't taking part in the match. If Saracens and Biarritz want to play at the CT stadium, it's their prerogative.
Get over yourselves, people... Whatever you decide should be for the good of rugby, the rugby watching public and the City of Cape Town. Newlands is old and tired... The new stadium is built, its right, and its perfect, or can be made perfect. get on with it!