Is Maritzburg United up for sale? Club chairman Farook Kadodia responds

Maritzburg United chairman Farook Kadodia.
Maritzburg United chairman Farook Kadodia.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Maritzburg United chairman Farook Kadodia has stressed the club is not “up for sale”‚ clarifying that if the club is unable to secure additional income for the 2021-22 season they will consider offers for their franchise.

A newspaper poster from the respected 175-year-old Pietermaritzburg newspaper The Witness extensively shared on social media states: “Maritzburg United up for sale.”

This has sparked alarm that yet another Premiership club is on the market. In the past year Highlands Park were sold to become TS Galaxy and Bidvest Wits sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila owner Lawrence Mulaudzi‚ who sold on within six months to Abram Sello‚ who has renamed the club Marumo Gallants.

Kadodia said the newspaper’s poster did not match what was printed in their story in which he was expressing the financial pressures of making a loss of around R9m in the 2020-21 season. He had told The Witness if a source of income could not be found, United would be open to an offer.

Kadodia told TimesLIVE that if the club had not sold defender Rushine de Reuck to Mamelodi Sundowns for a sizeable sum in 2020-21‚ United “then would have to be up for sale”.

He said the loss for the past season of the financial support of about R8m from the troubled Msunduzi municipality‚ and of gate takings due to Covid-19 of about R4m, had put United’s shareholders under financial pressure.

“Last year was a test of Covid-19 and a test that we had no partnership with the municipality. Those two were the critical areas where we are under duress financially‚” United’s chairman said.

“As I said in the [Witness] article, our first measure is to explore how we can get financial income‚ be it government‚ a sponsor‚ or a private shareholding partner.

“Failing all that‚ the club would be receptive to potential buyers. But we didn’t go out to say ‘the for sale signs are up’. That’s the difference.”

Kadodia said United made a loss of about R9m in the 2020-21 season‚ which was borne by the owners.

“We cannot afford to pump in that much each season‚” he said.

Kadodia and brother Imraan are the majority shareholders of Maritzburg‚ and there are also minority investors.

Kadodia said Maritzburg’s financial losses were significantly buffered by the sale of De Reuck.

“It helped reduce the loss. If we didn’t sell Rushine then I would say we’d be forced to sell the club.”

In 2014 Maritzburg turned down a move to Port Elizabeth that would have been worth significantly more than R8m a year‚ Kadodia said.

This was when the Msunduzi municipality stepped in financially to secure the team remaining in Pietermaritzburg.

United are also considering moving some home games out of Pietermaritzburg to raise funding to cover their losses.

The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands team have established one of the best home support bases and attendances in the PSL at Harry Gwala Stadium‚ but closed venues due to Covid-19 have removed that stream of revenue.

Maritzburg have not managed to secure a shirt sponsor in their 15 seasons in the Premier Division.

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