Mayor urges WP to change stadium stance

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille wants the WPRFU to reconsider its position on the Cape Town Stadium and at the very least renew talks with the city council.

The Western Province Rugby Union issued a statement on Tuesday that said there would be no further talks about a permanent move for the Stormers and WP to the Cape Town Stadium. They also confirmed that the historic European Cup match between Saracens and Biarritz would be staged at Newlands, because according to the Cape union, Newlands is the home of rugby in the region.

Following what appears to be WP’s final decision on the issue, De Lille has written to the union in an attempt to renew talks between WP and the city council.

‘To date, the city and Western Province Rugby have had several technical discussions aimed at paving the way for formal discussions to commence,’ De Lille wrote. ‘These have been productive and cordial, with both parties knowing full well that their principals are the final authority in taking decisions.

‘In light of the genial relationship that has pervaded to date, I would like to engage with you and your management team with a view to lifting your suspension and recommencing talks with the city.’

De Lille said the city had been in talks with Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths about the commercial viability of hosting such a big game at the Cape Town Stadium. The city received backing from the IRB and Saru to stage the game at this magnificent venue, but the final decision was WP’s to make.

De Lille added that a European Cup game in Green Point next January would not serve as a guarantee that WP would move there in future.

“At no stage did we intend to dishonour our ongoing and amicable discussions with you by entering into a commercially viable agreement with Saracens,’ the mayor continued in her letter to WP. ‘I am aware that the Saracens decision may have had unintended consequences (ie negative reactions from your stakeholders). This was never our intention. Nor was it an attempt to pre-empt any decision of a move of Western Province rugby to the Cape Town Stadium.’