PSL club’s status up for sale

A Premier Soccer League (PSL) club is reportedly considering selling its DStv Premiership franchise ahead of the 2024/25 season and is open to hearing the bids.

South African football fans have become accustomed to the sale of clubs’ statuses, a trend that has become increasingly common in recent years.

Moroka Swallows are the latest club rumoured to be selling their top-flight status. According to SABC Sport, Swallows' chairman is willing to accept bids of at least R40 million for the franchise.

Rumours about a potential Swallows sale began circulating earlier this year when the club faced financial difficulties. Management reportedly used their remaining finances to keep the club afloat.

Swallows' financial struggles resulted in the dismissal of over 20 players who had protested unpaid wages. Due to this protest, the club also failed to fulfill two league fixtures against Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns.

While Swallows managed to finish the 2023/24 season, it appears they will use the off-season to find a buyer.

Interestingly, the Soweto-based outfit themselves acquired its second-tier status in 2019. They purchased the National First Division status from Macabbi FC for a reported R8 million, at a time when the club was still competing in the ABC Motsepe League.

Before that, Swallows had previously attempted to return to professional football but were unsuccessful. A reported deal to acquire the Premiership status from Free State Stars ultimately fell through.

The Dube Birds secured promotion to the top-flight in 2022 but have only managed to survive for two seasons.

WHAT IS PSL SAYING ABOUT BUYING & SELLING OF CLUB’S STATUSES

The buying and selling of club statuses has been a controversial topic for years. Many fans are concerned about the potential loss of club legacies when new owners change clubs names or relocate teams.

In 2020, PSL chairman Irvin Khoza told IOL that the league’s hands were tied when it came to the buying and selling of statuses.

“We are all worried but it is not about the individual feelings. It is about what the constitution of the country says. It talks about free economic activity. If somebody sells (their company), you can’t stop that person,” said Khoza.

However, Khoza did encourage the sellers to prioritise buyers from the same area as the club, aiming to preserve the local connection and legacy.

“If they come to apply to us, we verify whether there are no takers where the status is residing. In the absence of buyers (in the area where the club is based), then there’s nothing we can do, the highest bidder will prevail. But we encourage you should sell to someone where the status is residing so that you can maintain the legacy of the club,” Khoza added.

‘THE GAME NEEDS SOMEONE WITH PASSION AND HEART’

“Preserving history is one of the things that is in our requirements when you consider the application. Football is about history. But again it is tricky because the constitution says there should be free economic activity. With the state of the economy, how do you stop someone from selling? Everyone is bleeding right now.

“The game also needs someone with passion and heart. At some stage, the meaning of running football reaches a point where you can’t continue anymore. If there’s nothing coming into your business, how do you sustain it? The reality will catch up with you.”

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.