The chances that Test rugby will ever be played at the new Green Point Stadium seem to be extremely slim.
The Western Province Rugby Union’s clubs decided at a secret meeting held on July 28 that the union should not bid to become operators of the stadium that is being built for the 2010 soccer World Cup tournament.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that this means Newlands will, for the time being, remain the home of WP rugby.
“We took the matter to the clubs. All, with one exception, voted in favour of remaining at Newlands,” WPRU chief executive Theuns Roodman said on Tuesday.
The South African Rugby Union moved, at the same time, to protect the interests of its provincial unions against a possible city council bid.
“The Sharks proposed that no Test should be played anywhere but on the home ground of an affiliated union unless permission is granted,” Roodman said.
Andy Colquhoun, SA Rugby’s communications chief, confirmed that Saru’s president’s council had ratified the motion.
Financial rather than emotional reasons
Roodman said the decision not to bid to operate the Green Point Stadium had been taken for financial rather than emotional reasons.
“There is a lot of nostalgia attached to Newlands but that’s not what the decision was about.
“Financially, we will not be better off if we move. There are only 150 suites in the new stadium and we would have had to build new ones.
“That means one would be paying to upgrade someone else’s property,” Roodman explained.
Western Province have upgraded, at great cost, the playing surface at Newlands and the rugby administrators are unsure about the surface at Green Point.
Other issues that had to be considered were managing the public area around the new stadium and property tax.
However, Roodman was unwilling to shut the door completely on the use of the Green Point Stadium.
“We wrote to the city council. The door is not completely closed. The union is willing to listen to anyone and we will then take a well-considered decision.
“Our next move (regarding the issue) won’t be soon. It may be reconsidered in 2010.”
Before the start of this year, it was thought a move to Green Point could offer a solution to WP’s financial problems. It was said a major banking group would be willing to pay R240m for the Newlands property.
At this stage, however, the WP administrators feel the union would be better off staying at Newlands. The union’s finances were also boosted by the Stormers’ success in the Super 14 competition this year.
Three other concerns have tendered to operate the new stadium. Tenders closed on July 31Tweet