/ 12 May 2010

Maintenance for World Cup stadiums to be costly

With less than a month before the World Cup, host cities are desperately trying to come up with models to generate money to cover the exorbitant costs of maintaining stadiums after the tournament.

Some stadiums would need between R10-million to R70-million a year for maintenance.

Host cities are toying with ideas to make sure ratepayers do not end up forking out a fortune to cover these costs.

The new Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane would need between R10-million and R70-million for maintenance a year, said the city’s 2010 director, Ndahve Ramakuela.

He said they would appoint a private company to manage the stadium.

They were optimistic that the company would be able to generate enough money so that the cost of maintaining the stadium would not become a burden on ratepayers.

He said taxpayers’ money would be used to maintain the stadium for a couple of months while the company tried to generate money.

“We believe that the company will quickly be able to generate enough money and be able to operate the stadium on its own.”

City of Johannesburg’s 2010 executive director, Sbongile Mazibuko, said the Soccer City stadium, which would host the World Cup final, would need R1,5- million a month for maintenance.

The cities of Durban and Cape Town as well as the Mbombela Municipality said they had not yet established how much it would cost to maintain their stadiums.

Durban said it was comfortable that it would be able to generate enough money to maintain the stadium.

The city’s Moses Mabhida Stadium has generated R5,5-million in the past five months, said Julie-May Ellingson, head of Durban’s Strategic Projects Unit and 2010 Programme.

She said the city would appoint a private company to manage the stadium early next year. A caretaker company is managing the stadium until a permanent operator is appointed.

Cape Town and Johannesburg are the only host cities to have appointed permanent companies to operate their stadiums.

A consortium of the Sail Group and Stade de France was appointed to operate the multi-function 80 000 seater Cape Town Stadium after the World Cup.

Stade de France had successfully managed France’s Stade de France (stadium) in Paris since that country hosted the World Cup in 1998.

The consortium’s CEO Purshoth Chetty said his company would make the Cape Town Stadium work.

“We will make sure that it generates money. It is comforting that Moses Mabhida is generating money. We are also looking at innovative ways to make the stadium sustainable,” he said.

He said the cost of maintaining the stadium was high, but refused to divulge the amount, saying that they were still compiling a document which would contain all the costs.

“We are in the process of developing our strategy. We have also developed an events calendar,” he said.

They planned to have 18 events, excluding soccer and rugby matches, each year.

City of Cape Town’s media officer, Nicholas Whitely, said the city would get 30% of the revenue generated by the stadium.

The rest would go towards maintenance and the Sail Group and Stade de France.

Chetty was confident the stadium would generate money as it was situated in a superb location and was also a tourist destination.

Mbombela Municipality spokesperson Ronnie Moyo said the municipality’s council was yet to approve the document of cost implications for the Stadium in Nelspruit.

The city of Johannesburg said it hoped Soccer City would generate a lot of money from the film industry which was eager to use the 94 700 seater venue. It would be also used for meetings and netball, said Mazibuko.

The money generated by the stadium would be properly audited and it would be used mainly for maintenance.

“Maintenance is priority number one. We will make sure that the roof of the stadium is cleaned every year,” said Mazibuko.

She said people who worked at the stadium when it was being constructed would be employed to clean the stadium.–Sapa