Uncertain and gloomy picture predicted for SA football in the aftermath of the coronavirus

Farook Kadodia (Chairman) chats with Councillor Stuart Diamond (Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management) during the Maritzburg United Media Conference at City Hall on May 14, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Farook Kadodia (Chairman) chats with Councillor Stuart Diamond (Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management) during the Maritzburg United Media Conference at City Hall on May 14, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Maritzburg United chairman Farook Kadodia has predicted that there might be a reduction in player salaries and transfer fees in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Kadodia said a smaller-sized Absa Premiership team like United‚ who are run on a tight budget and financial margins‚ are feeling the effects of the 21-day national lockdown in South Africa already in terms of the loss of income that would be generated from playing matches‚ but not to an extent that the club is endangered right now.

“Look‚ I think importantly what we are hampered by largely is that as a brand the revenue that we derive is from the supplementary incomes that we generate‚” Kadodia told TimesLIVE.

“The club was having a good season. And people like it when you are winning. So you must know that when you are doing well your income is easier to generate than some of the other times.

“That has come to a halt. And that supplementary income helps bridge the gap between our grant and our budget.

“Our supplementary incomes include gate-takings‚ then obviously the merchandise sales. That income is a lot. And then we have a partnership with the Msunduzi Municipality‚ which we have obligations to. If we don’t do anything we don’t get paid.

“The bigger picture‚ I think here‚ is there is a lot of uncertainty. We can’t predict what the league would do.

“We are part of the board of governors (BoG). And obviously immediately once the state of lockdown has ended I assume there would be a BoG meeting where we would map out the future. It all depends on when the lockdown comes to an end.”

Kadodia said he could not speculate on the practicality of playing closed doors matches‚ as the task team that had been set up by the PSL’s BoG to investigate the options regarding that had been superseded by the national shutdown.

Internationally‚ clubs have renegotiated players’ contracts down. Fifa has recommended that in instances where contracts were to run until June‚ and seasons running past June‚ then the termination of those contracts should be taken to mean whenever that season ends.

Kadodia said‚ until a final decision is made on the fate of the current season‚ such measures cannot be decided on by United. He did suggest transfer fees and player salaries negotiated on from now on might be influenced going forward.

“The harsh reality seems to be that we also have to be wary of what might happen for the next season. Whether the commitments of the broadcasters and sponsors will remain the same‚” he said.

“Because look‚ besides football‚ everybody is taking caution to the fact that the economy will take the biggest hiding when this virus is complete.

“So the thing is‚ at that stage‚ business will suffer. Football is a business and we don’t know what to expect.

“So the players whose contracts some to an end in June‚ I don’t think any club can commit to anything now until we know exactly what the effects have been.”

PSL CEO Mato Madlala has said the league has paid the monthly grants (R2-million to Premiership clubs‚ and R500‚000 to GladAfrica Championship teams) for March.

She has said the executive committee cannot make a decision on whether those will be paid in April‚ May and June until the course of the lockdown and effect on the league season has been revealed.

“Our grants are always paid at the end of the month. So the next payment would be at the end of April‚” Kadodia clarified.

Maritzburg were in fifth place in the Premiership when the league initially suspended matches on March 16‚ in a good season under coach Eric Tinkler that also included losing 2-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final in December.

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