Relegated clubs tell off financial strain in the NFD

Brandon Petersen is one of Ajax Cape Town's players who opted to go down with them.
Brandon Petersen is one of Ajax Cape Town's players who opted to go down with them.
Image: Chris Ricco / BackpagePix

Relegated clubs often have to deal with the headache of paying Absa Premiership-grade salaries despite plying their trade in the National First Division (NFD).

Ajax Cape Town and Cape Umoya United (formerly Platinum Stars) face this.

Jomo Cosmos made headlines last month after club boss Jomo Sono admitted that he was finding it difficult to pay salaries as some of his players were commanding Premiership level money.

As with most employment contracts, the obligations and monies due are binding regardless of whether the team is relegated or not.

What puts the clubs under financial stress is the fact that the monthly grant in the top flight is R2m and NFD clubs get R500 000.

Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou says his club has opted to continue paying the high wages the players were earning in the Premiership.

"It would be demotivating to cut the players' salaries, so our policy is that those we have kept will continue earning what they have been getting," Efstathiou told Sowetan.

"We have about 15 Premiership players that we have kept and they still get paid the same salaries from last season."

Efstathiou conceded that the club has had to cut costs elsewhere as they had to retrench some members of the backroom staff.

"We had to reduce the staff we had and some things that we do so we had to reduce by around 12 staff members."

Umoya boss Roger de Sa, on the other hand, revealed that his club offered contracted players severance packages as they could not afford to continue with some high wages.

"From last season's squad we kept about a third of the squad, which is about nine players.

"Those who left did so after their contracts expired or we had to find a settlement," De Sa added.

"We went into negotiations and told those players who had running con-tracts that we cannot afford it. We offered them packages that we could afford so that they could go find a club elsewhere.

"It's a costly exercise but it's less than paying them each month that high salary."