Soccer pros earn a paltry R2 500 to kick a ball

2011-08-27 19:09

Some players in the South African Premier Soccer League are still being paid as little as R2 500 a month, while others go without salaries for months in the lower division.

These were some of the findings by players’ body SA Football Players Union (Safpu) when it conducted a recruitment drive for membership.

Safpu president Hareaipha “Simba” Marumo said the union was shocked to find that “many players are subjected to exploitation by clubs”.

“This is not right. Players have families and they need decent salaries. It is important for the PSL to ensure that players are not exploited by setting a minimum wage. How do you expect a player who is earning ­R2 500 to save money?

Exploitation is very rife in our leagues and young players are vulnerable,” said Marumo.

Taelo Motloung, the union’s recruitment officer, said newly-promoted PSL side Black Leopards still paid some of their players between R2 500 and ­R3 000.

And apparently NFD club FC AK has defaulted on players’ salaries.

“The players are afraid to come out as this might lead to victimisation or even job losses. Our duty is to address these
issues and protect them from victimisation. I can confirm that there are players who earn as little as R2 500 and R3 000 in the PSL. This is a very sensitive subject and club owners are edgy about it,” said Motloung.

PSL chief executive officer Zola Majavu said the league is aware of such salaries paid to players by their clubs and that the matter would be discussed with the union.

“The union commissioned the study and went to the bargaining chamber with proposed numbers,” added Majavu.

Premiership clubs receive a monthly grant of R1?million while NFD sides are paid a R200 000 stipend monthly.

Leopards boss David Thidiela neither admitted nor denied that some of his players were earning R2 500 a month.

Instead, Thidiela said: “I cannot discuss players’ salaries in the media as a contract is a private document between a player and club.

“We don’t force players to sign contracts but if they are not happy, they should not sign or go look for better jobs. I will not discuss my players’ salaries in the media,” he insisted.

He lambasted the union for taking the matter up with the media while “they have a platform where they can raise these issues.”

“I’m striving to create employment for people and the union wants to tarnish my image,” said Thidiela.

FC AK spokesperson Joseph Cotti confirmed that the club owed some players money, but said this was due to the ongoing dispute over ownership which is currently before court. He said the PSL had not paid them their monthly grants as a result.

“We do owe some players and we have pledged to pay them as we believe that players must be well-looked after,” Cotti said.

In its study of players’ salaries, Safpu proposed a minimum wage of R10 000 for NFD players and R18 000 for those in the Premiership.

The revelation comes in the wake of a players’ strike in the Spanish Leagues which culminated in opening fixtures having been postponed for two weeks now.

But the strike was called off on Friday.

In Italy, Serie A action did not kick off as planned yesterday because?the?league and the players have failed to sign a new collective bargaining agreement.

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