CAPE TOWN – The Cape Town Stadium management have rendered their iconic venue "unplayable for football" just a few days out from Saturday's Premier Soccer League (PSL) derby between Cape Town City (CTC) and newcomers Stellenbosch FC.
As a result, the derby will be played at the Athlone Stadium much to the disgust of CTC chairman John Comitis.
Cape Town City were notified on Monday that the Cape Town Stadium was "unplayable for football".
Comitis on Tuesday morning issued a statement, which in part, reads:
'It is with great anger and frustration that the much-anticipated first Western Cape derby between Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC has been moved out of the Cape Town Stadium. This follows confirmation by the Cape Town Stadium yesterday, four days before the major event, that the field has not been prepared for the start of the season and is unplayable for football.
'This is yet another negligent and careless undermining of professional football in Cape Town by the Cape Town Stadium management. The club has a multi-year contract with the Cape Town Stadium and is now entering its fourth year in partnership with a tenant.
'It is no secret the League (PSL) season starts each year in August and the home opening game against Stellenbosch had been booked and agreed in advance between both the club and the city's venue.
'As early as June the club stressed the importance of the opening home fixture being at the Cape Town Stadium, raising concerns over the surface after various non-sporting events such as Monster Trucks had been accepted before the start of the season.
'However, we were assured the pitch would be ready. It is not.
'The home opener with Stellenbosch presented the perfect opportunity for the City of Cape Town to show off.
'A local provincial derby for Cape Town City, Stellenbosch's first PSL game in their home province and an opportunity for thousands of Capetonians to come together and enjoy the nation's most popular sport at the highest level in the best venue the city has to offer.
'To discover that the venue is not ready four days before the event is simply not good enough. There is no excuse.'
African News Agency (ANA)