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06 Sep 2007 09:11
The growing dispute between the increasingly more affluent PSL and its Mvela League affiliates reached a flashpoint on Wednesday when 15 clubs abandoned in mid-stream a special meeting to discuss the future of the League’s subsidiary competition.
This was confirmed by the PSL’s acting CEO, Professor Ronnie Schloss, after some of the incensed clubs alleged that the PSL was “acting like Scrooge” in spite of negotiating a R1,5-billion, five-year deal with SuperSport over TV rights.
The impasse reached boiling point at the same time as incoming PSL CEO Norwegian-born Kjetil Siem belatedly received his South African work permit.
He is due to start work on Monday.
The crux of the dispute appears to revolve round the monthly subsidy awarded to the Mvela League clubs, which they maintain was due to be increased from R50 000 to R150 000.
“We were given this assurance,” said one club official, “now the executive is renaging on the promise. It seems the more money they get, the meaner they become.”
But Schloss denied there had been a promise to increase the subsidy.
“It was only a preliminary proposal,” he added, “and it has to be taken into account that the Mvela League has since lost its R12-million sponsor—and this alters the financial structure of a competition that cost the PSL R40-million last season in any case.”
The PSL management has instead offered the Mvela League clubs the proposal to either continue in the same format as last season—or switch to a two-tier Coastal and Inland structure.
“They are holding a gun to our heads,” a Mvela League club official told Kickoff magazine, “and we were ready to propose a vote of no confidence in chairman Irvin Khoza—but we stopped short because we knew the Premier League clubs would have used their superior voting strength to defeat the move.
In the meantime, the embarrassing halt to Mvela League fixtures continues to highlight the crisis, with the PSL coming in for scathing criticism over their handling of the matter.
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