Celtic ownership shrouded in controversy

2014-06-29 15:00

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The rumoured sale of Bloemfontein Celtic to prominent Free State businessman Max Tshabalala is shrouded in secrecy.

Tshabalala, who owns Second Division side Roses United, dismissed talk of the sale as a malicious ­rumour meant to destabilise his other businesses.

“You are not the first person to ask me about this transaction, and I want to set the record straight to say there is no truth in the rumour. My focus is on rebuilding United, hence I have hired Clinton Larsen [a former Celtic coach],” he said.

But his lawyer Mandla Tshabalala (no relation) sang a different tune and confirmed the bid for Celtic.

“We have enquired about the club but the asking price of R60?million is way too much. There are still back-and-forth negotiations,” said the legal eagle.

Further speculation is that Max Tshabalala is in cahoots with a top politician in Free State and the aim is to move the club to the newly built R90?million Fezile Dabi Stadium in Parys, where Free State Premier Ace ­Magashule comes from.

The possibility that the club will move has not gone down well with its supporters, the majority of whom are based in and around the province’s capital, Bloemfontein.

Further digging revealed that Celtic’s management was waiting for the club’s chairperson, ­Jimmy Augusti, to return from Brazil, where he is attending the World Cup with other PSL members – before the deal can be concluded.

A Celtic insider confirmed the club had been approached but the insider refused to divulge the ­identity of the funder.

“It is difficult to run a club in the PSL ­because the costs are rising every ­season, but we will have to wait and see,” said the insider. Celtic chief executive Khumbulani Konco denied the rumour.

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