Decision on Durban hosting Afcon

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Published Apr 12, 2012

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Durban will decide on Friday whether to add its name to the list as one of the host cities of next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

The soccer event, meant to be Africa’s showpiece tournament, is in trouble, with Johannesburg having withdrawn its bid to host it and Cape Town and Bloemfontein saying they are willing to host the event but not if it costs ratepayers millions.

eThekwini municipality deputy city manager Musa Gumede remained tight-lipped about details of Friday’s meeting and whether decisions by the other cities would add pressure on Durban to host matches.

“I can only advise after our meeting on Friday to finally make a decision on the matter,” Gumede said.

Grant Pascoe, the chairman of the DA in the Cape Town metro, said the city could not afford the estimated R26 million cost of hosting Afcon.

The province also hit out at the SA Football Association (Safa), saying the 2013 Afcon demanded “limitless guarantees” and would bankrupt host cities.

Afcon fired back, accusing the city of dragging its heels because this event, unlike the 2010 World Cup, was “African”.

Despite having submitted a letter of intent to be a host city, Durban is yet to sign the host city agreement that organisers of the continental tournament want signed.

In recent media reports, city manager Sibusiso Sithole described the agreement as “contentious”.

“Safa are using the same tactics as Fifa,” Sithole said, referring to the strict requirements placed on host cities by Fifa for the 2010 World Cup.

Reports have stated that it would cost the city about R50m to host the event.

This apparently covers the costs of matches, travelling costs and accommodation for teams, Afcon officials and their families, catering at various VIP areas, branding, security, and refereeing costs and traffic management.

DA caucus leader, Tex Collins, told the Daily News that he was not aware that a meeting had been scheduled to finalise the matter.

“I don’t understand why everything must be held in secret,” Collins said.

The announcement about which cities will host next year’s Afcon was expected last week and was delayed by Safa because of the financial uncertainty. - Daily News

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