S'Busiso Mseleku

SA football's maths doesn't add up

2015-07-27 15:04
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Mbombela United from Mpumalanga were crowned the champions of the SAFA/ABC Motsepe League after beating Eastern Cape's Mthatha Bucks 2-1 in the final on Sunday.

For their efforts, the two clubs earned promotion to the National First Division (NFD).

They also pocketed R1 million and R500 000 in prize money, respectively.

And that's where I start having a problem.

You see, should Mbombela United, who immediately added the moniker "The millionaires" to their name, go on to win the NFD at the end of this season, they will only receive a measly R400 000.

Let me give a little background here.

The ABC Motsepe League is an amateur league under the auspices of the South African Football Association (SAFA). It is the country's third tier league after the Absa Premiership and the NFD, which are both "professional" leagues under the Premier Soccer League (PSL) banner.

For quite some time now, there has been complaints that NFD clubs were treated like Cinderella cousins when compared to the fat cats playing in the elite league.

There is such a discrepancy that while PSL clubs enjoy playing in at least three domestic competitions - the MTN8, Telkom Knockout Cup and the Nedbank Cup besides the league championship, NFD clubs only take part in the Nedbank Cup and their league.

PSL clubs get a R1 500 000 monthly grant while NFD sides have to make do with R350 000.

The club that gets crowned as the Absa Premiership champions, receive a whopping R10 million while their NFD counterparts settle for the paltry R400 000 which is far less than the R1 million the ABC Motsepe League champions receive.

It is even a R100 000 less than what the ABC Motsepe League runners up get!

Even the distribution of the different cups' prize money shows an imbalance.

To get the R10 million league first prize, a club must go through 30 matches over a period of about 10 months from August to May.

However to pocket the R8 million as MTN8 champions, a club has to win only three matches.

I know I might be accused of comparing tomatoes with oranges here or is it apples with onions. It just puzzles me at the moment.

The Telkom KO Cup where the 16 PSL clubs play four matches to win the prize, the carrot is R4 million.

And the Nedbank Cup - which is contested for even by amateur clubs along similar lines as England's FA Cup with PSL and NFD clubs entering at the Last 32 stage - carries a R7 million first prize for the winner of five matches.

I'm not a maths guru but to me these figures don't make sense.

I think it is time that our football administrators took a fresh look at how monies are disbursed within the sport.

And while I was pondering this, I saw this weekend that SAFA is at loggerheads with the organisers of the Varsity Football Cup that is played under former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar's Varsity Sport.

SAFA is questioning the rationale of having a budget of R1.3 million for Varsity Rugby but put aside a paltry budget of R73 000 for football.

I think they have a point. There is a case to be answered here but that's a debate for another day.

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.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    psl  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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