Avoid TTM mess – Safpu president

Players union asks PSL to consider putting teams under administration

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor

The PSL should consider taking over the day-to-day running of financially struggling clubs if they can’t fulfil their obligations, the SA Football Players’ Union has said.

This comes in the wake of the ownership of Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila changing hands last month, merely seven months after Masala Mulaudzi had bought the status of Bidvest Wits last winter.

Facing financial difficulties, Mulaudzi was bailed out by Abram Sello, who took over the club along with its mountain of debts.

But the TTM controversy – from unpaid salaries to players being stranded at airports with no return tickets  – brought into question the PSL’s ability to scrutinise potential owners. Safpu president Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe told Sowetan this week all this could have been avoided if the PSL had a provision to temporarily take over clubs in financial distress.

“This is done in many parts of the world, you put a club under administration,” he said. “The PSL must be emboldened to take a resolution that if a club owner wants out because of financial pressure, the league takes over for two to three seasons to oversee the process, to ensure players are paid their salaries and that there’s stability.”

Gaoshubelwe said an arrangement like that would have avoided a situation where Wits’ acquisition by Mulaudzi was followed by negative publicity almost on a daily basis, with contracts terminated at a whim and other employees forced to fend for themselves, while others remain out of work to this day.

Mulaudzi, on the other hand, could not keep his promises and players complained of monies due to them – including signings-on-fee and salaries – not being paid.

"Maybe he [Mulaudzi] had money at the time [of purchase]. But with Covid-19 matters can change very rapidly and you can lose it all. But if the option of putting clubs under administration was there, the situation would not have happened. The PSL would have put people in office to stabilise the club until a suitable buyer is found,” Gaoshubelwe said.

He said the union was thankful that since TTM changed hands, it was no longer inundated with players’ complaints. “We have not heard anything since the takeover [by Sello]. There’s an agreement as to how he will address the issue of payment due to players, and they seem to be happy so far.”

Having yielded just one win in 16 matches during Mulaudzi’s time, TTM have surprisingly won two matches in succession since Sello took over, an indication that players may now be focusing on matters on the field rather than washing their own apparel.

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