Pity the poor soccer lovers as PSL and Safa bicker like kids

Sport

Pity the poor soccer lovers as PSL and Safa bicker like kids

Are these two bodies not meant to represent the interests of the same sport? It does not appear so

Journalist


And here we were under the impression that the South African Football Association (Safa) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) were in this for the betterment of the administration of one sport called football. Ja. Right.
Something is rotten in the world of football. It has been left to stagnate for so long that the stench has become overpowering.
Safa signs a sponsorship with OUTsurance for R50m for referees, a department of football they oversee. Hooray.
They neglect to inform the PSL, whose matches these referees will officiate in, and where the match officials will be wearing the branding of OUTsurance. Darn.
The PSL’s sponsors are caught by surprise. Issues of a potential diminishment of their rights – which they would have been willing to waive, had they been consulted – have not been discussed. They bring this up with the PSL. Damn.
The PSL circulate a letter among their clubs raising the issue. Safa sends out a heavily-worded statement in response reminding the league who, as big daddy Fifa says, is boss. Put to Safa that they could have at least consulted the PSL, since this would affect the league’s matches and sponsors, Safa responds that it has no obligation to, seemingly missing the point. Darn and damn.
The PSL calls a press conference slamming the heavy language of Safa’s statement, the lack of consultation, alleging that when the FA’s statement was sent out the two bodies were busy in a meeting trying to thrash out the issue, and promising to consult their lawyers. That’s enough darns and damns – you get the point.
The spat between Safa and the PSL over a sponsorship that should be for the betterment of football is a reflection of all that is, and has been, crippling the game in this country.
Are these two bodies not meant to represent the interests of the same sport? Yet they behave as if they were opposing political parties.
It is tearing the sport apart. The public, frankly, are sick to their stomachs from the cycle of self-destruction that has been the result of what, essentially, boils down to the never-ending power struggle between two men – Safa president Danny Jordaan and his PSL nemesis, league chairperson Irvin Khoza.
Many supporters of one or other camp, or believers in either being a lesser of two evils, and therefore better suited to run SA football, are leaning towards no longer caring who wins, so long as the crippling undermining and dirty politics just stops.
It has gone far past nauseating. The patients – long-suffering football lovers – need to be admitted to ICU for resuscitation, and it’s touch and go if they will make it.
This actually was going to be an opinion piece about PSL stadium security.
It is less than two months into the new league season, and already we have seen our first few incidents. Most notably, fans broke through gates at Saturday’s Absa Premiership match where Kaizer Chiefs thrashed Cape Town City 4-1 at Cape Town Stadium while under-equipped, poorly trained security officials could only look on powerlessly.
The point is that following two violent pitch invasions, and plenty more incidents, in the past two seasons, everyone was holding their breath to see how long it would take in 2018-19 for something to happen. Seven weeks is barely an inhalation.
The PSL’s response to each security failure at a major stadium is of deflections, pointing of fingers, and anything bar a commitment to improve training and numbers of their security at matches. There can only be an argument that it is responsible for a continued increase in incidents.
It is an indication that some administrators of the game care more about penny-pinching than their supporters’ safety – or, dare one say it, their lives.
At the house of Safa next to FNB Stadium, CEO Dennis Mumble apparently is within a whisker of not renewing his contract when it ends in October. Will he be replaced by a reputable businessperson with a financial track record and impeccable credentials? This is one you should not hold your breath for.
Indications are that Safa are angling towards an inside-association politician who, of course, would challenge Jordaan on little. So the slowness of the progress, the lack of fresh ideas, the underachievement, seems set to continue.
Perhaps the most shocking point to emerge at Thursday’s PSL press conference was when Kaizer Chiefs chairperson Kaizer Motaung revealed that the Safa-PSL Joint Standing Committee had not met in two years.
Apparently in Spain, 35% of the league’s sponsorship revenue goes to the FA. Is this not how a functioning league-FA relationship should be?
In SA, apparently the PSL never even went through the regulated requesting of permission for their multibillion-rand sponsorships. Why have a rich league, when the FA that is responsible for producing the talent is poor? What purpose does that serve?
In SA we are capable of taking even that silly scenario one step further. We have a rich league and a poor FA, and the two apparently refuse to communicate effectively with each other, undermine each other at almost each turn, and are to all intents opposed to each other. Damn. There’s a recipe for a lack of success.

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