John Comitis calls for 'sanity' in protracted SportPesa row with PSL
After yet another postponement in the long-running legal wrangle between the Premier Soccer League and Cape Town City over the latter’s sponsorship by betting company SportPesa‚ owner John Comitis is calling for “sanity” to prevail.
It has been close to a year since City unveiled the Bulgarian-owned company as their shirt-sponsors‚ which the league says was in contravention of their regulations.
The PSL has no specific rules prohibiting sports betting companies as sponsors but does require clubs to seek permission first‚ which City did not do.
The matter is set to go to arbitration‚ but has faced a number of delays‚ and the City owner says the league should be welcoming sponsorship opportunities wherever they come from.
“I have been saying all along the sanity needs to prevail‚” Comitis told SowetanLIVE.
“As far as we are concerned‚ there is nothing that prohibits us from having a betting company as our shirt sponsor.
“The betting industry is one that is propping up football in many parts of the world and we in South Africa can’t be short-sighted.
“In an ever-decreasing sponsorship market‚ if there is money on the table for a lot of clubs then they should be able to access that.”
Comitis adds that a sponsorship like the SportPesa one is important for his club to stay competitive in the PSL and that should be good for the league as a whole.
“I think for our industry it is important that as many clubs as possible stay competitive‚ but it comes down to where money can be sourced and betting sponsorship is propping up some big clubs at the moment.”
SportPesa has operations in Britain‚ Kenya‚ Tanzania and South Africa‚ and already have partnerships with Everton and Arsenal‚ as well as Tanzania’s Simba and Young Africans‚ Nairobi giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards and the Kenyan Premier League.