South Africa news August 18, 2010

CSA rules out major cricket at FIFA World Cup venues

Cricinfo staff

The stadia used for the FIFA World Cup are too small for major international cricket matches, Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola has said. Majola told parliament that the grounds were too small for cricket, a problem that could have been avoided had the board been consulted when the stadiums were being designed.

"Historically, our game was not played in areas where some of the stadiums were built," Majola said. "We saw an opportunity, but unfortunately we were not part of the design of the stadiums. If we had met before the time and considered the issues we would have known stadiums would have been accommodating others sports as well."

The World Cup venues at Polokwane, Rustenburg and Nelspruit, Majola had hoped, could have been used to stage a Twenty20 tournament similar to the IPL. But their inappropriate size quashed the plan.

"We were hoping the stadiums were going to help us get into areas we had never been," Majola said. "We were really trying to get a tournament to be played similar to the IPL, but unfortunately due to the congestion of the future tour programme, which governs how cricket is played internationally, we could not find a gap for our own competition."

The three venues could have helped CSA "find a window", helping to squeeze in more games in the month of August where the tournament could have presumably lured several foreign players. "It would have meant we would have had an event annually in those three stadiums, which we could have hosted every year in August, maybe early September," Majola said. "Unfortunately we are compelled by the size of fields. When these fields were built, we were not part of that."

The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, however, will be hosting a Twenty20 game during India's upcoming tour of South Africa. The ground was given clearance to stage the game - marking the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa - despite being 22 metres "short on the square".

"For this particular game, because of its importance to South Africa, I had to motivate the ICC and ask for special dispensation," he said. "The biggest capacity for cricket in South Africa is at Wanderers with 35,000. At the Mabhida we will have 70 000 spectators coming... We know that the day we sell the tickets, the tickets will be sold out."

The stadium's management, he reportedly said, had indicated it was considering removing the first six rows of seats ground to accommodate an athletics track. "If that happens we will apply (to the ICC) for full status to utilise the Mabhida stadium," Majola said.