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south african news

World Cup leaves league struggling for grounds

January 20, 2009

South Africa's professional league is battling to find enough stadiums to complete the season because of renovations ahead of next year's World Cup.

Three venues have been closed this month in Durban and Pietermaritzburg for long-term upgrades, leaving the Premier Soccer League and first division clubs to share a single facility in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

South Africa has begun a massive redevelopment of stadiums for the World Cup -- not only the construction of five new venues and refurbishment of five others for the finals but also an upgrade to other grounds earmarked as training venues.

"This has caused a frustrating fixture headache," said the league's spokesman Altaaf Kazi.

"We have only one sanctioned stadium in Durban that is to be used by four clubs in the premier league."

A planned renovation in Bloemfontein was cancelled in August because it would have left the city without a suitable venue for its Premier Soccer League franchise.

The first four World Cup venues were due to be completed by the end of this year but are running behind schedule. The other six are scheduled for completion in December 2009.