Athlone Stadium will be closed annual pitch maintenance and other general work between May 15 and August 15. File Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Athlone Stadium will be closed annual pitch maintenance and other general work between May 15 and August 15.

According to the city council it is to ensure the stadium’s readiness for the soccer season in August.

“The closure forms part of the annual maintenance programme to ensure that the pitch and facility remains in good condition and is ready for the next sporting season.

“The stadium is also a popular events venue during the latter part of the year, therefore, from a public safety perspective routine maintenance will need to be carried out during the next three months,”said Kelcy le Keur, the city council’s executive director for economic opportunities and asset management

Le Keur said the Athlone Stadium needed to meet a set of stringent criteria to retain its grading certificate in terms of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA).

“The stadium is currently non-compliant with the national building regulations and the SASREA, and is operating under a conditional certificate, which will expire on June 15.

“Under the conditional certificate, only certain parts of the stadium can be used for events, thereby reducing the number of attendees for larger events. Should the city fail to comply with the required legislation, it is at risk of losing its grading certificate, which will lead to the ultimate shut-down of the facility in June,” she said.

In February, the Cape Music Institute, among the tenants at Athlone Stadium - also including the SA Football Association Cape Town, Social Development, the Athlone Dance Academy and some small businesses in the east wing of the stadium - faced eviction from the facility.

They were said to be non-compliant and given two months’ notice to move from the premises or be provided with alternative accommodation.

“To comply with SASREA, the city has been engaging, since November last year, with the affected parties for all non-operational stadium occupants to move their operations from the premises.

“The city would like to thank those occupants, both internal and external, who understood the importance of what is required and have already moved off-site to new accommodation,” Le Keur said.

Cape Argus