Soccer union falls apart

2013-12-01 14:00

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About 600 Premier Soccer League (PSL) and National First Division players could be left stranded as the SA Football Players Union (Safpu), to which they belong, is falling apart.

Serious cracks have developed within the union and this week there was even talk of a splinter organisation being formed.

National organiser Cappy Matutoane resigned on Thursday, adding flames to an already volatile situation.

The union is on the brink of bankruptcy and could not hold national executive committee meetings due to a lack of funds.

Safpu depends on two R1?million annual grants from the PSL and the International Federation of Professional Footballers.

Players pay a monthly fee of 1% of their salaries.

City Press has reliably learnt that there is more to Matutoane’s departure than the reasons he outlined in his resignation statement in which he accused Safpu national office bearers of taking crucial decisions without consulting players.

“They temporally terminated my employment because I questioned their reason to take those crucial decisions and they saw me as an opposition,” he wrote.

Part of the statement that said he won’t be lost to football gave credence to speculation that he was to form a rival union.

“I will still be representing players in my own personal capacity in the disputes they might have with the clubs?...” he said.

Former Bafana defender Lovers Mohlala painted a grim picture of the union’s affairs, saying that he wants to expose maladministration within the beleaguered union.

He said: “I am not bitter but it’s a matter of principle and we cannot go on like this. The leadership is only interested in their own affairs and not the players’ wellbeing.”

Mohlala has been waiting for five months to become part of the administration after members called for his inclusion in May.

Other accusations are that the union’s leadership has not held a national executive committee meeting since coming into office, members do not visit the offices and that the few committee members pay themselves meeting allowances.

President Hareaipha “Simba” Marumo conceded that there were challenges but said they were working on turning the organisation around.

But he said he needed more time to respond to all the allegations.

Secretary-general Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe said these allegations were being made by people “with personal vendettas who want to discredit the union for their own benefit”.

He urged whoever claimed there was money missing, to “give us proof or [a] paper trail before accusing us”.

He said those who wanted to form their own organisation were within their right but should not do it at Safpu’s expense.

Gaoshubelwe denied they did not have enough members to warrant the grant from the PSL in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement that stipulates they must have 50 plus one percentage members.

“We are in the process of consolidating the numbers and in a week or so, we will be able to issue our members with cards. The last time I checked, we had about 600 members and that is a good number.”

Gaoshubelwe laughed off allegations of a rift between him and Marumo.

“In every walk of life there are differences of opinion. It would be sad if we were to agree on everything. We do engage in robust discussions but that is where it ends,” he said.

In a written response, the PSL said: “In the last few months, the PSL has been continuously engaging with the union on a number of matters. Naturally, such discussions remain between the league and Safpu.”

Problems facing the union

»?Allegations of squandering allowancesand petrol card

» Suspension and eventual resignation of former national organiser and founder Cappy Matutoane

»?Refusal to ratify the congress decision to have former player – Lovers Mohlala – in administration

»?Secretary-general Thulaganyo?Gaoshubelwe and president Hareaipha “Simba” Marumo not seeing eye to eye

» Gaoshubelwe taking all the international trips

»PSL threatening to stop grants

» Union no longer has 50-plus-one membership

Safpu in numbers


»R1?million: PSL grant

»R1?million-R1.2 million: Fifpro grant

»1% of players salary every month


»R10?000: Office rental at Cosatu House

Safpu staff complement


National organiser (Vacant)


Recruitment officer

Media and liaison officer

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