Stadium Chief won’t change name

…despite court orders

The row over the name of the stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final is showing no signs of abating.

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday that Soccer City must now revert to its original name of FNB stadium.

But the stadium’s manager is not giving up on the name Soccer City, despite the court order in favour of FNB.

Jacques Grobbelaar said on Thursday he would abide by the court order that the name must revert to FNB Stadium.

But he says the surrounding area, which includes the South African Football Association headquarters, will be marketed as Soccer City. “We’ve acknowledged the value of the name,” he said.

“We think it’s entrenched globally.”

Grobbelaar said all the court ruling gave the FNB was the right to put its name on signs at stadium entrances and exits, while preventing his company from posting any other signs at the gates.

Grobbelaar, who manages the stadium for the city of Johannesburg, had wanted to stick with Soccer City, as FNB allowed the stadium to be called during the World Cup.

First National Bank waived its naming rights for a period leading up to and through the World Cup to meet the requirements of world football’s governing body FIFA.

FNB was a World Cup sponsor, but FIFA rules do not allow sponsor’s names to be associated with stadiums during World Cups.

As FNB Stadium, the venue hosted major political as well as sporting events.
Nelson Mandela held his first mass rally at the stadium on his return to Soweto following his release from prison in 1990. BBC

Pix: The FNB Stadium, now referred to as Soccer City

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