Khoza: Nothing can be done about the buying of PSL statuses
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There’s a brewing concern among the ‘connoisseurs’ of the beautiful game that the South African elite soccer league is fast becoming a “club trade centre” following the unexpected sale of Bidvest Wits' PSL status to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) of Limpopo this week.
Wits management had been mum about the deal as speculation swirled over the last two weeks, but this week they confirmed that the 99-year-old football institution has been traded to the top bidders from the northern province.
The sale happens as Bloemfontein Celtic were on the verge of relocating to Mpumalanga after Tim Sukazi of TS Galaxy put in a bid to purchase the Free State-based club. But that deal did not see the light of the day.
In 2017 Durban-based AmaZulu bought the status of Thanda Royal Zulu and Cape Town City bought Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2016. In fact, Usuthu have been the most active customers as they paid their way back into the Premiership, buying Dynamos FC's status in 2006/7.
These are just some of the examples, and the PSL says its hands are tied as there is nothing illegal with the trading that is becoming common in the league.
PSL chairman, Irvin Khoza,
confirmed to Independent Media that there’s nothing the league can do to prevent the selling and buying of PSL statuses.
“We are all worried but it is not about the individual feelings. It is about what the constitution of the country says. It talks about free economic activity. If somebody sells (their company), you can’t stop that person,” Khoza pointed out.
Running a football club in top flight football is not that simple. It requires huge financial muscle to sustain the club.
“If they come to apply to us, we verify whether there are no takers where the status is residing. In the absence of buyers (in the area where the club is based), then there’s nothing we can do, the highest bidder will prevail. But we encourage you should sell to someone where the status is residing so that you can maintain the legacy of the club,” Khoza stated.
The Celtic faithful fought to ensure that the club didn’t go out of the Free State and the latest is that the new owner will keep it there.
“Unfortunately the economy is not the same and people don’t have that kind of money (to buy PSL status). That is a problem and that’s why people are forced to sell it to whoever is available.”
The Clever Boys were approaching their centenary celebration next year. Wits was formed in 1921. They are the oldest team in Mzansi.
“Preserving history is one of the things that is in our requirements when you consider the application. Football is about history. But again it is tricky because the constitution says there should be free economic activity. With the state of the economy, how do you stop someone from selling? Everyone is bleeding right now.
“The game also needs someone with passion and heart. At some stage, the meaning of running football reaches a point where you can’t continue anymore. If there’s nothing coming into your business, how do you sustain it? The reality will catch up with you,” Khoza elaborated.