PSL, Safpu deal to benefit retired players

The writer says the decision by all PSL club bosses to work in unison with the players' union to help them to be financially sustainable after retirement is a welcome one.
The writer says the decision by all PSL club bosses to work in unison with the players' union to help them to be financially sustainable after retirement is a welcome one.

Soccer players, like any other athletes, have become part of our DNA.

They entertain us week in and week out in their respective specialised fields.

We regard them as our heroes and some of these athletes are role models to the youngsters and budding athletes.

We always wish them to thrive and become international stars.

And it is for this reason that we become distressed to see former players becoming impecunious after their playing days.

We have used this space many times before, albeit with melancholy, to highlight the plight of wretched ex-players, especially former soccer stars.

We have tried to come up with some solutions to their problem, but still we continued to read about depressing stories about how the once shining stars have become alcoholics and drug addicts.

Some are struggling to make ends meet after retirement and see their luxury cars and properties repossessed by the banks. It has been downhearted stories, to say the least.

So, it is against this backdrop that we emphatically welcome the partnership between SA Football Players Union (Safpu) and the Premier Soccer League aimed at changing the lives of soccer players to the better after retirement.

The two parties penned a bargaining agreement on Tuesday.

Among other things, the agreement will look to improve the dispute resolution chamber, standardise players' contracts and educate players on handling their finances.

We believe the latter issue is long overdue, considering the growing number of players who struggle financially after retirement due to poor financial literacy.

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza rightly acknowledged this problem, saying many people tend to blame the clubs about what they are doing to stop this thing from happening.

We are happy that all club bosses will work in unison to help the players to be financially sustainable after hanging up their boots. We also welcome the move by the PSL and Safpu to tackle the thorny matter of rogue players' agents who have been ripping off desperate players.

Their time is over.

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