Maritzburg United’s future in PMB in doubt
Durban - Maritzburg United might have to play its home games outside the city this season if the financial partnership between the club and the municipality this year falls through.
The sponsorship of the club hangs in the balance as the municipality has shown reluctance to renew it.
The municipality’s contract with the club expires this year, and a new contract, if approved, would start in the current financial year for the next three seasons.
It has been reported that over the past few years the city has injected more than R9 million into the club per season.
In the past two months, the cash-strapped municipality has twice refused to take a position on whether the sponsorship should be renewed.
The item was brought before council last week and again withdrawn without a discussion.
The council appears to fear that the club will leave the city if the sponsorship is not renewed.
Maritzburg United boss Farook Kadodia said they were concerned about the financial state of the club and, ideally, they would not want to move the club out of the city.
“There is no decision taken on the sponsorship and we are still waiting.”
He said if the sponsorship did not materialise they would have to look at other options.
“We would have to consider other alternatives that include playing in other stadiums. There have been many stadiums that have invited us and we have not gone there.”
Kadodia said the current situation had not been fair to the club.
He said they were working hard to find a sponsor but the process had not been easy and directors of the club were putting money into its operations.
ACDP Msunduzi councillor Rienus Niemand said they fully supported sport but the city was not in a position to provide support to the club.
“The ACDP fully supports the sponsoring of the team which has been doing well and bringing publicity to the city.
“Sports is also a very good medium to bring people together and create goodwill. However, right now the city is under severe financial stress and is under administration and unable to pay creditors.
“It is therefore of the utmost importance that we get our priorities right, focus on stabilising our finances, move out of administration and get service delivery up to standard.
“Once all these issues are up to standard, we can and should consider the sponsorship that would further enhance our prosperity,” he said.
DA Msunduzi councillor Sibongiseni Majola said that while the club was important in Pietermaritzburg, it was nonsensical to consider such sponsorship in light of the municipality’s financial crisis.
“The municipality cannot be talking about providing sponsorship to the club when it is also in dire need of sponsorship. We have declared ourselves a disaster area and we are looking for billions of rand in sponsorship from the provincial government.
Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said that while it was not the municipality’s responsibility to support a soccer club, its presence in the city brought economic benefits and social cohesion.
“I am going to propose that we do not enter into a long term agreement with the club and instead meet it halfway and assist it where we can. And we should also assist it to find an anchor sponsor,” he said.