South Africa's Ajax Cape Town Barred From Playing Liverpool Friendly By League
South Africa's Premier Soccer League has stopped one of its clubs from playing a prestige friendly against Liverpool this month because "it would take publicity away from the country's cup final," according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. Ajax Cape Town has "been refused permission by the league to play a friendly against the English club in Cape Town on May 21 in a move that was immediately criticised." PSL GM Derek Blankensee said, "We don't allow international friendlies while the season is still on because it competes with our own events and our own sponsors." South Africa's cup final is "sponsored by the banking group Nedbank." The last round of league matches "is on May 18." Blankensee: "This is the biggest game of the season for our sponsor, and we want them to get the exposure they deserve." Cape Town's municipal authorities, which were bankrolling the game, "criticised the decision." Cape Town City Councillor Grant Pascoe said, "I think it's short-sighted because we are trying to build brand South Africa, and getting one of the greatest football teams in the world to play in this country is a massive achievement for us" (REUTERS, 5/8).