The newly build Green Point Athletics Stadium in Green Point. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
Cape Town - The Mother City will be buzzing with the Sevens rugby tournament this weekend, but a cricket club is fuming after it was prohibited from practising at the Green Point Track because the rugby teams were using it.

Kashief Abdullah, secretary of the United Cricket Club, said: “Our players were denied access to the venue at 18.15 on Tuesday. The security was adamant that they received strict instructions not to allow any cricket practice or matches until after the Sevens tournament is completed.”

Abdullah said the club paid for the ground hire and had fixtures scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The booking and the payment were done in September.

“As a community we have played cricket in the precincts of Green Point Track since 1890. We are the de facto lessee of the Track during the cricket season (September 1 to March 30) and we take exception to their arbitrary decision to prevent our players’ access to the venue. Given the strained relationship between the Bo-Kaap community and the City of Cape Town, we deem this high handed action totally insensitive,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah said that last night they were barred again from entering after the City said they could use the field, but did not provide anything in writing. “They sent us an email saying we can practice at 6pm and when we got here we were not allowed in. We are extremely frustrated and we can’t do anything. Our matches are on Saturday and Sunday, which means we are going to have to find another venue,” Abdullah said.

Spokesperson for the City, Luthando Tyhalibongo, said: “It is the City’s standard practice that when the Green Point precinct is booked for major events, all City facilities within the precinct are booked in their entirety.

“The Recreation and Parks Department is responsible for advising sporting clubs (which use the Green Point shared fields and Green Point Track throughout the year) that normal usage of these facilities will be interrupted to accommodate major events. Notice is given to clubs prior to the event in order for them to make alternative arrangements for that specific time period.”

Tyhalibongo said that on October 22, the department held a meeting with existing club users, including United Cricket Club, to advise them of the Cape Town 7s and Cape Town 10s events taking place in the precinct.

“The users were informed that both the Green Point shared fields and the Green Point track would be used for training sessions by teams participating in the Cape Town 7s event. This information was given a full month prior to the event dates in order to allow time for the clubs to find suitable alternatives.

“Co-ordinating multiple sporting events with major events is not feasible, as this compromises security and reduces the efficiency of maintenance of fields in between usage.

“Statistics have shown that on event days, up to 55000 people have attended this event in the past and this has a significant impact on security and maintenance risks,” he said.


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Cape Argus