The R65.4 million bonus shared by the nine executives of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) would have done a lot to improve the status of professional football players, says the SA Football Players’ Union (Safpu).
“The league leadership has shown that it is there for personal enrichment,” said Safpu secretary-general Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe this week.
“The payout could have gone a long way in helping to establish a comprehensive medical aid for players, a pension fund, improving the grant for the National First Division and even [creating] a bursary fund for the players,” said Gaoshubelwe.
In the same breath, Gaoshubelwe, reading from a prepared statement, said the union distanced itself from Tokyo Sexwale’s candidature for the Fifa presidency.
The union said Sexwale did not deserve to lead world football as Fifa president, and has called upon him to withdraw his candidature.
“We remain convinced that he [Sexwale] is not a balanced candidate who will deliver what we need as footballers globally,” said Gaoshubelwe.
He said Sexwale could not change world football when he had not done his best back home, where it was felt urgent intervention was necessary.
“Sexwale is no different from his backers at Safa. The decision [for his candidature] was not informed by the needs and interests of the players, because no consultation and engagement with Safpu was made.”
The union is also of the view that the players should be given a share of the broadcasting deal the league has with SuperSport International. In 2011, the league and SuperSport signed a R2 billion, five-year deal.
“It is our view that the players should share a chunk of this deal, as their sweat resulted in the league amassing these billions. The league does not have programmes in place to support the social and economic welfare of the players, and this cannot
Gaoshubelwe also disclosed that the league had not paid a R1 million grant over to the union for three years.
The union is also not happy about the insurance payouts for late players after it emerged that these were being split equally between the clubs and players’ families.
“This practice must end, as it is cheating the players and their families of funds due to them. In fact, the players must be given the share of the broadcasting rights so they can administer their own insurance.”
Acting PSL chief executive Mato Madlala said they were disappointed that the union had opted to address the league through the media.
“As the PSL, we value our relationship with Safpu. Because of this, we have created platforms where the PSL and Safpu can always engage on issues of mutual interest,” said Madlala.
“It was therefore disappointing to hear that there have been allegations aired at a press conference. We believe that this matter could have been raised at these platforms between the league and Safpu before being tabled to the media.
“The league has, in fact, been trying to arrange a meeting with Safpu for some weeks now.”
Madlala confirmed they had withheld a R1 million grant to the union.
“Through our engagements, we asked Safpu to present us with a list of their members in good standing.
“The union has been unable to demonstrate the level of membership that it warranted to the league. That has impacted on the issue of payments agreed on the basis of these warranties.”
Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said Safpu was not affiliated to the association “and, as a result, we cannot engage organisations that fall outside our membership”.
“Members we deal with fully recognise our legal standing, which has the Fifa and Safa congress approval,” said Chimhavi.
“I don’t see the relevance of their endorsement [of Sexwale], as South Africa as a country carries only one vote and that is from the football governing body [Safa]. The association has fully endorsed the candidacy of Mr Sexwale to be future Fifa president, and that is not debatable.”