Call for footballers to have less tax at Safa meeting

Some of the past players/legends here at SAFA House to brainstorm issues of life after playing days are Augustine Makalakalane, David Nyathi, Portia Modise, Bennet Mnguni, Simba Marumo, Neil Tovey, Mike Ntombela, Linda Buthelezi.
Some of the past players/legends here at SAFA House to brainstorm issues of life after playing days are Augustine Makalakalane, David Nyathi, Portia Modise, Bennet Mnguni, Simba Marumo, Neil Tovey, Mike Ntombela, Linda Buthelezi.
Image: TWITTER/BAFANA BAFANA

The South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) wants the government to review tax for footballers as one of the ways of addressing serious financial challenges that are faced by former players when they retire.

Harsh realities of life after football were scrutinised after the recent death of Bafana Bafana legend Phil “Chippa” Masinga‚ which prompted the SA Football Assoiciation (Safa) to convene a meeting with stakeholders at Safa House in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The meeting included representatives from the Gauteng provincial government‚ Safpu‚ the South African Football Coaches Association (Safca) and SA Masters and Legends Football Association (Samlfa).

And argument was that footballers and sport stars cannot continue to be taxed the same as other professionals because the short lifespan of their careers.

Also discussed were creating business and coaching opportunities for ex-players‚ retirement and pension funds‚ an SA football hall of fame and skills-sharing programmes.

“Government must show that they care about people who play sport and rethink the tax system‚” said Safpu president Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe.

“We need to look at the NDP (government’s National Development Plan) because it does not say much about this issue of tax for footballers.

“If you look at things‚ you can’t tax a CEO of a company who earns the same as a footballer and he or she [the CEO] has a working lifespan of 30 to 35 years.

“When players retire there is usually a crisis and we want this issue to be addressed immediately. If government tells us this has not been done before‚ our stance is that we want to be the first to introduce tax relief for footballers in the world.”

Safa president Danny Jordaan agreed that there must be urgent discussions with the government to find solutions.

“How is it that a banker‚ a teacher or any other professional is taxed the same as a footballer on the same salary because they don’t have the same lifespan‚” asked Jordaan.

“Footballers don’t have the same benefits such as car‚ housing‚ medical aid and other allowances. So‚ we must meet with government as soon as possible to address this issue.

“I don’t want this meeting to be another talk shop‚ but have meaningful outcomes. We need to organise ourselves.”

Among speakers was former Bafana defender David Nyathi‚ who said former players are not valued in South Africa.

“Nobody respects former footballers because they say we know nothing about the game that we played and we love dearly‚” he said.

“That’s why you have a situation where Dwight Yorke and John Barnes are [TV] analysts here – it’s because nobody respect us‚” said Nyathi.

Former Bafana striker Hareaipha Marumo said tax relief is possible in South Africa and he suggested that players have a share of the gate-takings.

A working group was formed to take the process forward and it will be tasked with meeting the department of sports‚ treasury‚ education and provincial departments.

The group will report back at the end of the month.

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