Comitis Calls For Fans To Return To Stadiums

Ngetelo Clifton Mabasa
January 14, 2022

Cape Town City boss John Comitis has called for local stadiums to be opened to football fans in South Africa.

Covid-19 Vaccination was a key and hope for fans that sports stadiums could be opened again, but to date, there are no signs to show that fans could return anytime soon – after only 2000 spectators were allowed to attend the Bafana Bafana 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia at FNB Stadium last year.

Comitis says South African football lovers should put more pressure on people who have power and on government until they open the stadiums.

“Well, I can certainly say that we are lagging here, I think we need to take initiative now and start putting a bit of pressure on the decision makers to allow us to go completely back to normality in the way we run our football in this country,” Comitis said on Radio 2000.

“Football without the fans is not a football, it’s starting to affect the psyche of the players, the morale of clubs. We seem to just be going through the motions, it feels like we are having practice matches. And meanwhile, all over the world, the stadiums are packed.

“When you watch all over the world, we’ve already experienced the discipline we have in that bubble and how we managed that. I think we are capable of being able to run an event with a 50% capacity on the stadium in a very responsible way. And I think we should start pushing the right buttons to get this to happen.”

The Citizens boss also spoke about how they suffer as teams in terms of revenue during matches – saying if the stadiums will be opened, at least more than 5000 fans must be allowed to attend as it will help them not to lose a lot of money.

“For us, on our side, stadium revenue has always been a negative on our budget – and it’s always difficult to make it work to get enough people to the stadium to be able to cover the exorbitant costs of these World Cup stadiums that we use,” he said.

“In saying that, we also can’t open a stadium for 2000 people only, you understand the model of how our football works.

“Before we started, we were already had to issue out over 1000 tickets, just to the league sponsors that sponsor the league MTN, the DStv sponsorships, SuperSport, we have to issue them complimentary tickets, so the 2000 tickets doesn’t bring in any revenue.

“So unless we do allow a minimum of 5000+, we can make economic sense out of opening a stadium – so as it is already the line item of gate taken is not attractive to us in our revenue stream, unless you play two or three big games, and you have a capacity stadium where you have fortunate enough to be in a semifinals or something where you attract the big crowd.

“Unless we open the stadiums constructively, and allow a certain number of spectators, especially when we are using these 40-50,000 seater stadiums, we can easily allow 30, 40% of that capacity with observing all the protocols of social distancing.

“And at least it gives us a chance to create a revenue stream to make it financially viable to open a stadium. And apart from that, you know, the fans are sitting on the edge waiting to see when I can come back and support the teams.”

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