Court may be asked to rule on refs’ sponsorship
● 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.
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.