By SYDNEY MORWENG
The Supreme Court of Appeal handed down yesterday the judgment confirming that FNB has the right to name the main stadium at the Soccer City Complex after months of on-going battle between the Johannesburg City Council, Stadium Management South Africa and First National Bank.
According to the judgment, FNB has been restricted to affixing naming boards or the like at all outer perimeter entrances and exits of the main stadium.
Jacques Grobbelaar, chief executive at SMSA, the stadium management said they respect the decision of the lower Court. “We’re relived and respect the decision of the Court which has been amended by deleting the obligation imposed on National Stadium, SMAS and the City of Johannnesburg to refer to the stadium as the FNB in the normal course of our business. SMSA will abide by the order,” he said.
Head of Communications at FNB Virginia Magapatona said as part of preparation for the World Cup, had in compliance with FIFA requirements, agreed that the name and or logo of the stadium be changed for a period of starting three months before the WC kick-off and ending a week after the last match.
“We acquired the full naming rights in 2004 for a period of 10 years and this gives us the right to name the stadium,” she said.
National Stadium, SMSA and the City of Johannesburg have only been restrained for the duration of the servitude, from:
(a) affixing naming boards displaying a name other than FNB stadium
(b) selling or disposing of the right to put up boards displaying any other name for the stadium.
According to Grobbelaar, they will continue using the name Soccer City in referring to the complex as well as advertising and promoting business and events.