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BCC reveals BF's capacity

by Staff reporter
07 May 2023 at 07:46hrs | Views
AS debate surrounding the carrying capacity of the country's soccer stadia continues, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has revealed that the city's largest stadium, Barbourfields carries just under 23 000.

With the country's football league now on Week 7, some of the matches, especially involving Bulawayo giants, Highlanders Football Club at Barbourfields Stadium have attracted huge crowds, with the largest crowd being witnessed in Week 2, when Bosso played defending champions FC Platinum, with the match ending 2-1 in favour of the hosts. After the match Highlanders said 11 046 paid to watch the match.

However, this figure was met with grumblings from some section of the fans who argued that the figure should have been in the region of 18 000, amid allegations that there were some ticketing syndicates that were robbing teams of would-be revenue.

There has always been debate on the official carrying capacity of Barbourfields Stadium and other major stadia across the country. In January 2019, FC Platinum's Total Caf Champions League match against Orlando Pirates at Barbourfields, the council said that the match broke the venue's 30-year attendance record with 23 164 fans paying to watch the blockbuster encounter.

However, the City of Bulawayo has since clarified the stadium's carrying capacity revealing that it has a seating capacity of 22 995. BCC corporate communications officer, Nesisa Mpofu revealed that the swimming pool end, popularly known as Soweto is capable of carrying 5 750 fans, Empankweni; 6 470, Mpilo End; 5 750, reserved; 1 688, VVIP side; 233, VVIP Centre; 104 and the wings can take 3 000 fans.

"The stadium which was built in the 1950s mainly for recreational purposes is a Bulawayo community facility with a grading of a national stadium. While it has had upgrades and refurbishments over the years, its major upgrade since its construction was for the All Africa Games in 1995 and a further upgrade in 2014 for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games which saw the construction of the new changing rooms, anti-doping and medical rooms. The CAF upgrades and equipping of the stadium were being implemented since the start of the Covid -19 pandemic in March 2020," said Mpofu.

Meanwhile, the local authority has said that as of 11 April this year, they had made US$3 129 from the hire of the stadium to the three PSL teams that use it, for both practice and competitive matches. The figure is for seven sessions. BCC charges 20 percent of the gate takings for the use of their stadia during match days.

White City Stadium, which is largely used by lower league had 61 games and managed to raise US$925 while Luveve Stadium with 62 sessions got US$1 448. The 20 percent per game charge came into effect in 1986 after the local authority passed a resolution to increase the figure from 15 percent, the move was later endorsed by the High Court after Zifa — representing the PSL clubs — lost the protracted battle thereafter to block the upward review. PSL clubs also give varying percentages to Zifa, PSL and the Sport and Recreation Commission. Among other expenses, clubs pay referees, gate officials, police and ambulance crew.

Source - The Sunday News
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