‘We need to educate soccer fans’

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By ANDISIWE MAKINANA, ZARA NICHOLSON and MATT MEDVEDpage_7336804

The SA Football Association in the Western Cape says the whole culture of soccer fans in South Africa needs to change before the 2010 World Cup and will embark on an education campaign to achieve this.

Although commentators said the 90 Minutes for Mandela football match on Wednesday night was a commercial success, it was not short of chaos, including a pitch invasion at the final whistle.

Spectators also complained of backlogs in the parking garages and the seating ar-rangement on the stands.

Yesterday a Safa Western Province meeting agreed that although the organisation of the match was largely successful, there was a downside.

Chairman Vernon Seymour said: “We are happy with a lot of things about that match: marketing, good attendance, sizeable number of white people at the stadium.”

But he admitted that there was still a lot to be done before the 2010 World Cup.

“We paid attention to the downside of the game as well; there were lessons learnt and we will correct them.

“For instance, the pitch invasion doesn’t happen in cricket and rugby matches, where there are also no fences around the ground.

“That shows we need to beef up security for soccer matches, but more importantly, we have to educate people that running on to the field is not right.”

Seymour said parking was another concern at Newlands and was a major factor in moving the World Cup.

“In future we will look at or-ganising public parking in areas like Kenilworth, Mowbray and even town and then have shuttles to the stadium.”

Another issue that needed to be addressed urgently was seating arrangements at Newlands.

Seymour said Safa-WP had received complaints that people had fought over seats in the stands. “We normally have a free-sitting arrangement in our PSL matches. People buy tickets with a seat number but would sit anywhere.

“So from this season we will look at enforcing the rule and have visible policing at the stadium. It is about educating people and it will be achieved,” he added.

Gavin Lewis, general manager for marketing at Newlands, reported that all things had gone well at the match, which had attracted a full house of 52 000 fans.

Lewis said that although vuvuzelas were allowed at the match at Newlands on Wednesday and at any other soccer match hosted at the stadium, they were still banned at rugby matches.

“It is for technical reasons at rugby matches where they have line-outs, scrums and lots of other calls and every player needs to hear the calls,” Lewis said.

He said no residents or resident associations were involved in making the rule.

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~ by Matt Medved on July 20, 2007.

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