'Scrap this five player U-23 rule'

The South African Football Players Union yesterday came out in support of those calling for the scrapping of the rule that says all teams in the National First Division should have five under 23 players in the starting line-up.

Safpu general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe said yesterday the union has been and still continues to call for serious changes within the Premier Soccer League, including but not limited to the scrapping of the under 23 rule.

"We, however, find comfort in that a few club owners have now started to take our call very serious with regards to the same rule albeit, for different reasons. It is our contention that this rule not only defies the bill of rights that, everyone has the right to work, but it impacts negatively on the development of the game.

"In most instances this rule is used to fire senior players under the pretext they are old and therefore dont meet the requirements to play in the NFD.

"We would like to reiterate our position that we are not against young players getting promoted to the professional ranks, however we cannot allow a situation where this rule is used to justify the exploitation of players by paying them salaries which are not compatible with the work they do, because they are young and not in a position to enter into sound negotiations with their bosses.

"We would further like to call on the next sitting of the BOG to priorities players issues as contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"One last critical issue that we have always been calling for is to include the players in the players status committee or committes that deal with rules at the PSL. The answer lies in the conclusion of the Collective Bargaing Agreement", Gaoshubelwe concluded.