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Friday, August 20, 2010

South Africa's World Cup stadiums already proving useless

It's only been a little over a month since the World Cup ended and the stadiums that cost South Africa $1.5 billion to construct and renovate for the tournament are already proving to be a "massive problem." Despite government officials insisting that the stadiums wouldn't turn into white elephants as the World Cup drew to a close, it seems like some of them are already becoming just that.

The AP reports:

South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins told members of parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday that there had been no discussions between Durban city officials and rugby representatives before the $400 million, 70,000-capacity Moses Mabhida Stadium was built, and now it did not have enough suites to accommodate the local suite holders for the Sharks rugby team.

Hoskins said that the Sharks, who compete in the annual Super Rugby competition and the domestic Currie Cup—and who could offer near year-round use of the stadium—would have a “massive problem” moving into it now.

Hoskins went on to say that discussions have also broken down between the Western Province rugby union and the operators of the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, which would result in Western Province remaining in their current stadium (as independent financial advisors are recommending). This leaves the Green Point Stadium on track for rare use and a cost of more than $6 million a year just to maintain it.

So if the stadiums can't be used for rugby, how about cricket? Well, failure to consult Cricket South Africa in the planning stage that also excluded rugby representatives has results in the fields being built too small for cricket matches.

As FIFA president Sepp Blatter said before the World Cup final, "There is not one single European country which has so many good and high level stadiums as the ones which are here in South Africa." And now that all those good and high level stadiums are proving unfit for other uses and financial drains on the cities that have too foot the annual bills, you have to wonder how much longer that will hold true.

Photo: Getty Images

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