Pressing Issues: PSL are The Untouchables

2013-05-27 10:00

‘You guys are the untouchables.” These words were uttered by a shoddy character who had tried to bribe police officer Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) in the 1987 blockbuster, The Untouchables.

The flick is about how Ness brought down feared Mafia boss Al Capone.

The would-be briber said these words when Ness had him thrown out of his office.

The irony is that Capone was actually regarded as “The Untouchable” until Ness and a small team of honest and committed cops brought him down.

This happened even after his henchman Frank Nitti had infiltrated the police station, killed Capone’s captured bookkeeper and wrote “touchable” on the wall using his blood.

The shenanigans going on with the National First Division (NFD) in local football have echoes of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) playing The Untouchables.

They nonchalantly went ahead and issued fixtures for the NFD ­play-offs while there were still outstanding disciplinary cases with fourth-placed Thanda Royal Zulu appealing the guilty verdict for failure to honour matches in September.

This week, the log shows all clubs to have played 30 matches when last week some had played 28 or 27.

Thanda were one of no less than five clubs scheduled to appear before the DC for matches that should have been played in September.

Dynamos boss Pat Malabela told Metro FM listeners on 083 Sports@6 with Robert Marawa that no one is allowed to source sponsorship for the NFD except the PSL sponsorship committee, which has failed to do so in five years.

And therein lies the rub. This is the same committee that was hailed and defended by the same bosses whose clubs now find themselves in the NFD.

They hailed the committee as saviours for football when everybody, including then finance minister Trevor Manuel, registered concern over the 10% bonuses members of the committee pocketed from the R1.6 million SuperSport broadcast deal and the R500 million Absa sponsorship.

Manuel said this was “morally reprehensible and corrupt”. But those within the PSL disagreed, saying he was out of order, misinformed and the matter was even taken up with then sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile.

Needless to say, while PSL clubs have been getting richer, it has been a downward spiral for their Cinderella cousins in the NFD who have no sponsorship, receive monthly grants that are less than half what those in the elite league get and have to go through an atrocious relegation/promotion system at the end of each season.

This imbalance has been allowed to go on by those serving on the board of governors, which include the 16 PSL club chairpersons and 16 NFD bosses.

It’s time they took advise from Ness, who told Capone: “Never stop ... Never stop fighting till the fight is done.”

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