Maritzburg united’s move to host games in PE makes economic sense, says PSL CEO

2012-03-29 00:00

MARITZBURG United’s decision to move three of their allocated home PSL matches this season to Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is one that is economically viable, said the league’s newly appointed CEO, Stan Matthews.

United have already played home matches against Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic at the 2010 World Cup venue and are set to take on log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at the picturesque ground on April 21.

“It is never ideal to play matches outside of your home facility,” Matthews told The Witness yesterday.

“But the clubs need to do what they can to survive economically.”

Matthews was visiting the media in Durban to share his vision about the current and desired future state of the PSL. He said the decision to move matches away was entirely the club’s. “Maritzburg have a progressive chairperson in Farouk Kadodia,” said Matthews.

“If they move too many games away from their home stadium then they will start losing supporters, so he needs to balance that out.

“It is also important to remember that the municipalities in charge of the World Cup stadiums need to bring in a certain amount of events so that they do not become white elephants.”

The former SuperSport United CEO expressed satisfaction with the league’s progress over the last five years, but added that there were still areas that required attention.

“The financial upliftment that has come into the game has propelled ours to a world class league,” he said.

“There has been a suggestion that the PSL is one of the top 10 leagues in the world and there is certainly no league in Africa as well structured as ours.”

Matthews said the competitive nature of the PSL year after year was particularly pleasing to see, noting how the “smaller” clubs had managed to close the gap on the “top three” in recent seasons.

Match-day and training facilities needed to be world-class and there would be a continued focus on accommodating a functioning reserve league, said Matthews.

“The reserve league has been labelled as a priority for us,” he said.

“It is a place where young players and those coming back from injuries can ensure that they are playing regular football.”

South Africa’s hosting of the African Cup of Nations next year would pose challenges in scheduling fixtures for the next PSL season, he added.

“We are working hard on it already, we know that it is frustrating for the coaches to have these breaks in the middle of a season.

“But hopefully our hosting of the Afcon will give fans a renewed energy to come to games again.”

Matthews took over as the league’s CEO in December last year, after Zola Majavu quit in October due to “fundamental differences”.

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