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Newlands and Kings Park in danger?

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:00

A new set of sport safety regulations could be the financial ruin of two of South Africa's iconic rugby stadia - Newlands and Kings Park.

The SA Rugby Union (SARU) and the City of Cape Town feared the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Regulations would render provincial matches financially unviable, the Cape Times reported.

SARU game operations manager Steven Roos said the cost of implementing prescribed minimum safety and security requirements would be too high.

According to the regulations, signed into law last year, a stadium would only qualify for a safety and grading certificate if it met all criteria. These included fire safety systems, signage and CCTV camera installations.

A rugby union also had to provide six month's notice of a game to be held, otherwise a policeman could legally shut down the game. All national stadiums had to conform.

The news is especially bad for two of the country's most famous grounds, Kings Park and Newlands, who missed out on upgrades during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Loftus Versfeld, Coca-Cola Park and the Free State Stadium all underwent extensive renovations during the football showpiece, while Kings Park and Newlands were overlooked in favour of the new Moses Mabhida and Cape Town Stadium.

The latest regulations could add further fuel to the ongoing debate regarding a potential move away from the two traditional rugby homes in Cape Town and Durban to the new FIFA stadia. The fight between City of Cape Town and WP Rugby Union (WPRU) flared up again during the Saracens proposal for a Heineken Cup match at Cape Town Stadium was met head on by WPRU officials and eventually cancelled.

SARU and the City of Cape Town have submitted their concerns to the national sport and recreation department.

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