Selling of clubs compromising the standard of PSL football

MOROKA Swallows fans will again be left clubless next season. BackpagePix

MOROKA Swallows fans will again be left clubless next season. BackpagePix

Published Jun 29, 2024


THIS is fast becoming a joke. But believe me, it is no laughing matter. It is heartbreaking. I am calling it a joke because I find it laughable that an institution that claims to be the most professional on the continent continues to allow ‘Mickey Mouse’ occurrences such as this week’s sale of Moroka Swallows.

I remember how, a few seasons ago, Irvin Khoza cut a sorry figure as he lamented the demise of Bloemfontein Celtic as they were being bought out by Shaun Mkhize to become Royal AM.

The chairman of the Premier Soccer league (PSL) shared his pain at seeing a club that the late Petros Molemela painstakingly built from his own pocket cease to exist. The Iron Duke even referred to the death of historic clubs such as Highlands Park and Wits as being bad for the local game.

We hung on his every word, sharing his sentiments. Given his role in the professional game, I for one expected he would move to ensure that such things did not happen again.

I expected that the chairman would, along with his PSL executive and board, implement measures to ensure that the legacies of those such as Molemela and the late Mike Mokoena, who sacrificed their families’ wellbeing in favour of running their clubs, would be preserved.

Such was Khoza’s sadness that day that I really thought he would come up with a rule that ensured future sales of professional clubs would not spell the end of said club’s existence.

I was wrong, evidently, for here we are once again reporting on the sale of yet another elite club. The DSTV Premiership will not have a club named Moroka Swallows next season, the club’s status having been sold to the owner of Marumo Gallants.

Granted, when clubs struggle financially, it is the league’s duty to ensure that the employees do not go hungry. With other people capable of taking over the club, agreeing to a change in ownership through a sale makes sense.

But surely – as often happens in the English Premier League that our elite league has been a copycat of – the sale should not impact on the club, right?

Revered English clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United have undergone ownership changes over the years, but their identities have remained. They did not change their names or move to different cities.

This is what I had thought the PSL would do – preserve the legacies of clubs forged from the sweat and blood of many men and women.

It is a joke that the likes of Marumo Gallants owner Abram Sello are going to simply use their financial muscle to get their clubs into the elite league instead of fighting their way up through winning on the pitch.

What about the diehard fans, the men and women who invest emotionally in their chosen club only to have it yanked away through a sale that sees their beloved club cease to exist?

Spare a thought for a man like Gendis, who has supported Swallows from way back in the 1980s. What must he do now, support Marumo Gallants? He is a Swallows fan and will stick with the club no matter who the owner is.

Here’s hoping that this is the last such sale. Henceforth, the PSL must insist that anyone buying a club keeps it where it is and does not change its name.

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