Jury out on Q-Innovation
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
The jury is still out on whether the new Premier Soccer League (PSL) innovation - known as Q-Innovation
- that was announced by chairperson Irvin Khoza last week, will create the expected excitement and increase attendances at local soccer matches.
For years now - mostly since 2006 when the PSL got such a windfall from sponsors that it jumped to being among the top 10 well-financed leagues in the world - there have been question marks about the standard of soccer being displayed.
Many argued that the standard did not match the amount of money being pumped in. Others even put it as bluntly as to say the kind of football dished out by clubs week in and week out was not worth the money pouring into the game.
While this argument is subjective, it is a fact that attendances have been dwindling over the years.
Already the new innovation baptised as the Q-Innovation
has suffered its first blow after the South African National Editors Forum
(SANEF) attacked the concept that offers R500 000 to a journalist for correctly predicting scores in the first quarter of the season.
This would have meant a total of R2 million by the end of the season.
The other proposal is that the club that finishes at the top of the log after each quarter will receive a mouth-watering R1.5 million.
This is on top of the R10 million that will be won by the eventual league champions, which Khoza intimated might be increased.
In a strong-worded statement, in which SANEF said they had never been consulted on this despite the PSL claiming to have “extensively consulted and enquired if this competition involving journalists that cover its space raises any ethical issues.”
SANEF further said that had they been consulted, they “would have made it clear to the PSL that the competition undermines the ethics of our profession. This competition seeks to turn journalists who use their skills to report and analyse football into gamblers. It risks opening the door for corrupt practices which our profession has no desire to be part of.”
The editors’ organisation said they would be seeking a meeting with the PSL to discuss the matter.
Despite this being an attempt by the PSL to boast its brand image, create more excitement and attract more spectators to the game, there are two more crucial questions besides the one already raised by SANEF.
The first question that comes to mind is how are the PSL able to give away an extra R5 million when they have just refused a request by the National First Division (NFD) clubs to have their monthly grants of R200 000 increased to at least R500 000? This, they feel will close the gap between their Premiership counterparts who pocket a cool R1 million every month. This has led to such a tiff that the NFD kick-off has been suspended indefinitely
until the two parties meet again at a special annual general meeting later this month.
The second question is around the timing of this innovation seeing that this is an elective year in which the clubs will elect a new executive committee at their AGM in November.
Makes you think doesn’t it?S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.
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