AmaZulu megadeal: PSL holds all the Aces

2015-07-05 15:31
PSL chief executive Brand de Villiers confirmed they had received the brand-swap application. PHOTO: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePix

In AmaZulu’s bid to buy their way back into the Absa Premiership, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Friday received documents for an R82 million sale agreement (that did not include players) between AmaZulu and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

If this deal goes through, it would mean that AmaZulu will be back in the elite league, while Aces will have to ply their trade in the National First Division.

This was confirmed by league CEO Brand de Villiers yesterday. He said the two clubs had on Friday applied to the PSL for the approval of their proposed swap deal.

De Villiers said the PSL would evaluate the merits of the application and make a decision.

“We have received the application for change of ownership from the two clubs. In terms of our procedure, we have to evaluate the application and see if it complies with our rules and regulations and take it to the exco [executive committee] for a decision,” said De Villiers.

Further speculation started doing the rounds on Friday afternoon that the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government was funding the deal.

But this was flatly denied by provincial government representatives contacted by City Press yesterday.

But there could be a spanner in the works in the proposed transaction, as article 30.3, under the heading Acquisition and Ownership, states:

. “No person or legal entity may acquire shares or interest directly or indirectly in a club if he or it has had shares or an interest directly or indirectly in, or has been a registered shareholder of another club under the jurisdiction of the league or Safa in the preceding 12 months”;

. “The records of the league and Safa will be definitive and irrefutable in determining whether a person has been a shareholder directly or indirectly of another club or not.”

KwaZulu-Natal department of sports and recreation head Rohini Naidoo said she did not know what had sparked the rumour about the province’s involvement.

“This is news to me,” said Naidoo. “It’s a private matter and the provincial government does not get involved in private matters. Nobody has even approached us. We only work with clubs in terms of player development.”

Provincial government spokesperson Thami Ngwenya said their cabinet had not passed a resolution on the matter and they were not involved.

“I don’t know where that comes from, because our cabinet did not take that decision,” said Ngwenya.

However, provincial governments and municipalities have backed clubs financially before.

In 2006, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government gave AmaZulu, Lamontville Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United and Nathi Lions R1 million each to conduct development programmes.

But a mandate was later issued for the money to be recouped after it emerged that “the process that was followed in granting the money was flawed”.

Last year, Maritzburg United signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the City of Pietermaritzburg worth R12 million a year.

Chippa United entered into a three-year deal worth R36 million with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality to relocate from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

AmaZulu boss Lunga Sokhela did not return messages left on his phone and Aces’ chairperson Mario Morfou also did not respond.

A source close to Aces said AmaZulu’s offer was one they could not refuse.

“Someone else would have taken it if Aces had refused it,” said the highly placed source. Most clubs are struggling financially and it was too tempting and lucrative a deal, as it does not include players. AmaZulu have already agreed to buy [players], which means more money for Aces.”

However, the insider said it was business as usual for Aces as they held their preseason camp at the Ingwenyama sports resort in Mpumalanga this week.

“The only downside is that the club might have to pay out the coach’s and the players’ contracts. But it’s still a good deal.”

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