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City urges WP Rugby to move to Cape Town Stadium

The Western Province Rugby Football Union confirmed earlier this week that it had obtained an order for the provisional liquidation of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

Cape Town Stadium. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - City of Cape Town Mayco member for Tourism and Events Eddie Andrews says the City would welcome Western Province Rugby to play their home matches at the Cape Town Stadium.

At a press conference on Monday, the Western Province Rugby Football Union confirmed that it had applied for, and obtained an order for the provisional liquidation of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Ltd, in which it is a 75% shareholder.

The union sought legal and accounting advice and had fully surveyed all possible options before applying for liquidation of its commercial trading entity.

The process is expected to take roughly two months until the final liquidation order is granted. The union has projected a “substantial loss” for the financial year, however the amount would not be disclosed but is rumoured to run into millions.

With Newlands Stadium obviously one of the union’s largest assets, should the need arise to sell the stadium, the relatively new Cape Town Stadium would certainly be viable option according the City of the Cape Town.

Former Western Province and Springbok prop Andrews, now a Mayco member, says the stadium is looking for a tenant such as Western Province and the Stormers.

“At this stage we are looking to secure anchor tenants, and if Western Province (WP) consider themselves open to the idea, we will converse with all stakeholders, including WP, with a view to secure an anchor tenant for Cape Town Stadium.”

Western Province rugby clubs had previously voted against moving to the 2010 World Cup stadium two years ago, opting instead to remain at the iconic Newlands.

Newlands, is the oldest rugby stadium in South Africa, however the stadium cannot compete with the modern Cape Town Stadium in terms of space and facilities for fans - while Newlands’ notoriously treacherous traffic is often difficult to navigate on match days.

At the press conference it was confirmed that a protracted legal battle with a partner named Aerios, over various issues such as commercial, media and wi-fi rights was the “tipping point” for their financial situation.

With creditors such as Aerios anticipating payment through the liquidation process, a quick financial fix would be to sell Newlands in order to settle debts and start fresh at the Mother City’s newest stadium.

Andrews says with engagement, the City could make provisions for the Stormers to play their Super Rugby 2017 home matches at the Cape Town Stadium.

“I am not clued up as to what the booking (of stadium) is like for the next calendar year, the venue is available, if possible we would move one or two events to accommodate such a request we would need to further discuss, but yes we would be willing.”

Andrews says with the Mother City’s two Premier Soccer League clubs already playing their home matches at the World Cup 2010 stadium, Western Province moving to the venue would be beneficial for the stadium.

“Both Cape Town City and Ajax are definitely increasing in their support base, WP and rugby as a whole would generally add value to that. And of course have the necessary flow to assist us in bringing in the numbers to the Cape Town Stadium.”

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