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Tensions flare as rugby club is locked out of Stadium

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The temporary preservation of the stadium surface was done to assist the turf to get rehabilitated

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The provincial department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) has moved to address the issue of barring Universal Rugby Football Club (URC) from using the AR Abass Sports Stadium situated in Square Hill Park.

URC representative Bryan Pietersen this week complained about the club’s exclusion from using the local stadium. He said because of the embargo the club was now forced to make use of unsuitable grounds in a school yard opposite the stadium.

Pietersen also told the DFA that the provincial department (DSAC), who are responsible for the upkeep of the AR Abass Stadium, informed them about their decision to barr the club from using the facility. Yet, to their surprise the club recently learned that a festival has been booked to take place on the very same grounds at the end of the month.

Pietersen said club players and officials are dismayed at this decision especially seeing that they recently met the departmental representatives who promised to “come back to them” regarding the matter.

A contradiction

“We were informed that the stadium is unavailable and yet we now see that a festival has been planned there for the end of the month. This is really a contradiction.

“We met with the department of Sport some time ago and they would have come back to us. Instead we have to fall around looking for a venue to play our games,” Pietersen said.

DSAC spokesperson Conrad Fortune said the South African National Defence Force recently made use of the stadium for their annual Armed Forces Day celebrations.

The equipment used by the military such as the erection of a temporary public seating area on part of the grassed surface, and other mobile machinery, caused extensive damage to the grass surface.

Fortune went on to say that because of the damage to the grass it was not feasible to host matches at the venue.

The temporary preservation of the stadium surface was done to assist the turf to get rehabilitated.

Fortune further said that the department has held several meetings with Universals and were now surprised that they have turned this matter over to the media.

“They (the club) were informed of the reasons. We are aware that they are one of two rugby clubs that use the venue. We are not insensitive to their needs. We are willing to assist them (with access to an alternative ground) should they need such.”