Involve players in commission debates, says union

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) should involve players’ unions in their deliberations on commission for television and sponsorship, the South African Football Players’ Union (Safpu) said on Wednesday.

“Should the union be in a position to carry out its programmes through the money from the broadcasting rights, then the issue of players being labelled as people who cannot handle their affairs will be drastically minimised,” said Safpu national organiser Cappy Matutoane.

“Players like Patrick Mbuthu and Thabo Mngomeni have lost close to R1-million after their teams were sold, and with money from the television rights these players can get something to keep the fires burning,” he said.

The PSL has come under fire this week over claims that it intends paying internal negotiators 10% commissions on a R1,6-billion television rights deal and a R500-million sponsorship deal.

After an emergency executive meeting on Tuesday, PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza denied that this was the case, explaining that no firm decision had been reached yet on whether to pay commission and how this would be done.

Whatever the decision, “no executive committee member will be entitled to commission”, he said.

Welcoming his explanation, Safpu said it did not have “any problem” with people getting or not getting commission.

However, it believed the money could best be used to advance players’ programmes being carried out by the union.

These included an HIV/Aids programme, life skills and financial management programmes, said spokesperson Elvis Sekgobela.

“The union has also identified the need to have a pension/provident fund scheme, which is very important to the players after their retirement,” he said.

“This is why we have been advocating that through the percentage the union is to get on television broadcasting rights, it can be in a position to implement and sustain such projects.”

In an open letter on Sunday, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel slammed as “morally reprehensible and corrupt” the possible payment of commission to soccer officials involved in the two deals.

“My understanding is that individuals are elected on to the league’s various committees to serve the interests of the sport, not in the expectation of acquiring personal fortunes to the detriment of the organisation they are representing,” Manuel wrote.—Sapa

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