Proposed lease gets red-carded

Kapstadt President and founder, Zaid Omar, said the club was prepared to fight the matter in the High Court in order to retain their spot at the grounds.

Soccer clubs using two Observatory sports fields are unhappy with the City’s plans to lease them to Cape Town City FC.

The plan to lease Hartleyvale Stadium and Malta Park to the new Premier League side was advertised in the press in August.

It did not go down well with clubs already using the grounds.

They objected immediately and one has threatened to go to court if necessary.

The Western Province Hockey Union, Silvertree Rugby Football Club, JMI Football Club, All Stars Football Academy and FC Kaapstadt are united in their opposition to the plan.

FC Kapstadt have used the Observatory sports grounds for eight years. Its president, Zaid Omar, said they were “absolutely disgusted” with the City’s proposal to lease to Cape Town City FC “in the face of our existing rights.”

He questioned the fairness of the application process and accused the City of not consulting the clubs and violating the rights of the existing users.

FC Kapstadt uses Hartleyvale’s A and D fields and clubhouse.

The City, he said, had “ignored its agreement with FC Kapstadt”, believed to have been reached in 2009.

The club had consented to leave the Green Point Common to make way for the Urban Park and Cape Town Stadium in return for a five-year lease, with an option to renew for a further five years, on the Hartleyvale A and D fields and clubhouse, including Malta Park B field.

Mr Omar called a Sub-council 16 report – which suggested FC Kapstadt did not make full use of the A and D fields and supported the lease proposal – “irrational, irregular and reviewable”.

The club had spent R500 000 on upgrades and maintenance at the fields, he said, and the City’s failure to deliver a written lease had stalled its plans to turn Hartleyvale into a high-performance centre and cost it sponsorship.

The latest turn of events gave the club “no choice but to seek relief in the High Court”.

All Stars Football Development Programme, applied for a lease on a portion of Malta Park D – which it uses – back in 2012, but the club’s director, Dalla Abbass, said the City had still not tabled the application formally, despite the club having spent almost R400 000 on a new clubhouse.

“So the question begs – how does the issue of the Cape Town City Football Club’s lease fit into all of this? How is it that their application is pushed ahead?” But the City says there is room for all the clubs at the grounds.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services, said there was no intention “at present” to remove FC Kapstadt.

“The club will continue to occupy a clubhouse and will continue to book fields according to the ‘pay and play’ booking procedure that governs how sports fields are utilised across the city,” he said.

“The same rules apply to them as apply to community sports organisations across the city.”

He denied Mr Omar’s allegation that the City had failed to consult with the clubs already using the fields.

“The City’s recreation and parks department conducted a review of the use of the Hartleyvale/Malta Park sports ground. It indicated that the facilities were under-utilised and that both FC Kapstadt and Cape Town City FC can be accommodated at the same time,” Mr Smith said.

“Hartleyvale is a prime sports complex which the City has found to be under-utilised. Space in our city is at a premium and we cannot afford to not use it to its maximum.”

Stuart Diamond, mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management, said FC Kaapstadt had been given a chance to address sub-council on the issue and “due process” had been followed.

Cape Town City FC did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.