Controversy may scare off Sasol sponsorship

2012-02-18 19:40

The negative publicity that women’s football has attracted in the past few months has cast doubts on whether Sasol will renew its sponsorship.

The petroleum company sponsors the national women’s league and Banyana Banyana in a deal worth R13 million signed three years ago.

The contract is due for review in July.

Despite Banyana Banyana’s historic qualification for this year’s Olympic Games, the women’s game has been overshadowed by controversy in the past year.

This was exacerbated by the uncertainty over the Sasol League kick-off date that had to be postponed twice.

Safa claimed the league had started while it had not, as clubs still wanted some issues to be cleared and threatened to bring the league to a standstill if their demands were not met.

They argued that they deserved more than the R20 000 yearly grants they received from Safa.

“The brawl was an indication that all was not well within the organisation. Sasol doesn’t want to be associated with controversy. I think Banyana’s success last year attracted lot of attention, which is something that Sasol may also consider when they negotiate for a new deal,” said a source close to both parties.

The grants cover weekly expenses of transport, food, referees’ travel fees and other logistics.

Teams claimed the money they got from Safa was insufficient to cover their needs and demanded it be increased to R20 000 a month.

This also resulted in teams pulling out of the league, which left Safa with no choice but to postpone the league programme.

“Sasol will take a conscious decision about it, considering the fact that Banyana were the most successful team in 2011,” said the source.

In December, Banyana Banyana vice-captain and defender Janine van Wyk pulled out of the squad on the eve of their departure to Harare for the Unity Cup against Zimbabwe.

This after Safa failed to pay the players the R500 000 put aside by Sasol to be shared by players as bonuses for qualifying for the Olympics in September.

The money was only paid to the players last month.

Van Wyk was omitted from the squad as part of her punishment for leaking the story. She has since been recalled.

Sasol’s communication general manager Jacqui O’Sullivan said the focus at the moment was to ensure the team benefited from the best possible preparation ahead of the Olympics.

“The sponsorship is only up for renewal later this year and considering the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in the coming months, our focus is firmly on those aspirations.”

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