Sunday Times

Court may be asked to rule on refs’ spon­sor­ship

- By MARC STRY­DOM and MNINAWA NTLOKO Belgium · National Soccer League (indoor) · Iceland · The Football Association · Austria · Nedbank · Danny Jordaan

● The Na­tional Soc­cer League (NSL) is con­sid­er­ing court ac­tion to ask for an in­terim or­der halt­ing the South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s (Safa) spon­sor­ship for ref­er­ees with Out­surance.

This is af­ter Safa ap­par­ently turned down an ap­pli­ca­tion by the NSL, which has the trad­ing name of the Premier Soc­cer League (PSL), for an ur­gent ar­bi­tra­tion to de­cide the mat­ter. Sun­day Times is in­formed that go­ing to court to re­turn the Out­surance spon­sor­ship to the point that it was be­fore the deal was signed is the course be­ing con­sid­ered by the NSL in con­sul­ta­tion with the lawyers of its head­line spon­sor, Absa.

Pos­si­ble res­o­lu­tion

A pos­si­ble res­o­lu­tion with­out hav­ing to go to court might be ar­rived at when the PSL and Safa’s joint li­ai­son com­mit­tee (JLC) meet for the first time in two years on Tues­day.

The PSL and Safa have been in dis­pute about the R50m deal signed by Safa, which over­sees ref­er­ees, and Out­surance, which was an­nounced on Septem­ber 11.

The PSL has raised ques­tions, and so have their spon­sors such as Absa and Ned­bank, about a di­min­ish­ment of their ex­ist­ing spon­sor­ship rights by the high-pro­file Out­surance brand­ing worn by match of­fi­cials in PSL matches.

The ref­er­ees wear the bright green and pur­ple colours of Out­surance.

Safa has re­sponded to such con­cerns by re­mind­ing the PSL that, in terms of Fifa statutes, the as­so­ci­a­tion is the gov­ern­ing body of foot­ball in SA, and the PSL is the sub­or­di­nate.

Ap­pli­ca­tion for ar­bi­tra­tion

PSL COO Ron­nie Schloss said that as far as he knew, Safa had turned down an ap­pli­ca­tion for ar­bi­tra­tion from the PSL. “Ja. As far as I know that’s cor­rect,” he said.

Schloss could not com­ment on whether the PSL would go to court for an in­terim or­der re­turn­ing the Out­surance deal to what it was be­fore it was signed. “That I’m not sure of,” he said.

PSL act­ing CEO Mato Mad­lala said she could not com­ment as it might prej­u­dice the PSL-Safa meet­ing.

“I don’t want to lie to you and say, ‘No’, and if it’s a ‘Yes’ it’s a ‘No’,” Mad­lala said.

“I don’t want to com­ment on it at this stage be­cause we have a JLC meet­ing with Safa on Tues­day. And I see the Out­surance mat­ter is on that agenda.”

Mad­lala said the JLC meet­ing was called by Safa. She said she hoped the Out­surance is­sue could be­gin to be re­solved in that meet­ing.

Safa com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Do­minic Chimhavi said he could not com­ment on whether the as­so­ci­a­tion had turned down an ap­pli­ca­tion for an ar­bi­tra­tion by the PSL. He said Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan would be able to com­ment.

Jor­daan could not be reached for com­ment. Nor could PSL chair­man Irvin Khoza.

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