Insurer and PSL head for arbitration

Safa acting CEO Russell Paul refused to sign a debt letter.
Safa acting CEO Russell Paul refused to sign a debt letter.

The PSL will argue at an arbitration that the sponsorship deal between OUTsurance and SA Football Association (Safa) undermines their contract agreements with Absa and Nedbank, who have similar consumer product offerings.

Safa have a deal worth R50m, over five years, with the insurer that directly affects the PSL. Football referees are administered by Safa and they provide officials with training and kits to wear during PSL games.

The PSL's main gripe is that the deal with the insurance giant triggers a conflict of interest. Like OUTsurance, banking giants Absa and Nedbank offer insurance products to customers. Absa Direct is a division of the company that offers household, vehicle and contents insurance.

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Nedbank Insurance also has similar products.

To resolve the matter, it's now heading for arbitration.

Safa, in fact, intended to resolve the matter before August 1, but that didn't happen.

The association's chief executive Russell Paul said the association is working around the clock to get a date with the unnamed arbitrator.

"We are just waiting for the arbitrator," Paul said. "We are just chasing him up. he's been outside the country."

PSL boss Irvin Khoza.
PSL boss Irvin Khoza.

Safa's referees manager Tenda Masikhwa has in the meantime written to the referees to inform them that "the OUTsurance kit MUST be worn during all other matches except during Absa Premiership and Nedbank matches only".

This is why referees have not been wearing the OUTsurance kit during the Absa Premiership matches.

Masikhwa confirmed the details yesterday. "In the meantime, the referees can wear the kit in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge games, for example... until the matter is resolved through arbitration."

A source told the Sowetan yesterday that the PSL is justified in insisting that referees don't wear the insurer's kit during their matches.

"You have a situation where one company (Absa) is paying R500m for five years and another (OUTsurance) just coming in on R50m for five years," a source said.

PSL boss Irvin Khoza described Safa's deal with OUTsurance as "ambush marketing" last year.

Safa, however, have maintained that they are the "authoritative structure for all football in this country" in line with Fifa's statues.

PSL spokesman Luxolo September was not in a position to give an immediate comment.

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