Newlands Stadium face wrecking ball



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South Africa Newlands Stadium will be demolished Image: Gallo Images & Brenton Geach

The catchword in today’s age is ‘perform or perish’. The aging Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, one of the oldest rugby stadiums in the world, unable to meet new spectator safety standards and modern requirements, is set to face the wrecking ball.

stadionwelt.de reported that the death knell being sounded on the ramshackled venue translates into the fact that its two tenants – Western Province and Stormers – who partake of in the Super Rugby competition – will have to shift to the nearby Cape Town Stadium for the 2021 rugby season.

The Newlands Stadium is located in Cape Town, South Africa. The stadium currently has a capacity of 51,900 people, but is not an all-seater venue. Built in 1888, the Newlands Stadium hosted the South African national team 53 times, including the opening game of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

The Cape Town Stadium is a football and rugby union stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, that was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

Western Province is a South African professional rugby union team based in Newlands, Cape Town, that participates in the annual Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup tournaments.

The Stormers is a South African professional rugby union team based in Cape Town in the Western Cape, competing in the Super Rugby competition.

Premier Soccer League (PSL) official Ronnie Schloss also admitted that the dilapidated Cape Town-based Newlands Stadium is no longer fit to stage football matches.

Schloss stated that refurbishing the old ground, which was traditionally used for rugby by Western Province and Stormers but also hosted occasional PSL matches, would cost more than building a new one.

Established in 1888, the last renovation of the hallowed 52,000-capacity Newlands Stadium took place in 1995. However, over the years, it has become a potential threat to the safety and security of fans.

stadionwelt.de further reported that the debt-ridden owners of Newlands Stadium – Western Province Association – have leased out the site of the iconic Newlands to investors for 99 years at a price of R110 million (euro 6 million initially) and a fixed amount of future rental income. The site will be used to build residential and retail space.

The last international match of the South Africa national rugby union team, Springboks, which was scheduled to be held in the stadium in June 2020, got thwarted due to COVID-19 which spelt doom on the world in March 2020.

The Springboks is the country’s national team governed by the South African Rugby Union.

Founded in 1883, Western Province – which holds a record of 34 Currie Cup titles – was able to play one last game in the Newlands Stadium in the last weekend of January 2021 sans fans.

The deal with the City of Cape Town, which owns the 60,000-seat Cape Town Stadium, will make the Western Province the anchor tenant for up to 99 years.

Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais said the move to Cape Town Stadium was a “watershed moment” which would ensure the union’s financial sustainability.

The Cape Town Stadium which has hitherto been partially filled by fans mostly for football matches hopes that entry of the above two clubs will increase the capacity of the Cape Town Stadium and boost revenue generation.

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