PSL chief's huge payout

2002-04-21 09:15

Cape Town - The chairperson of the Premier Soccer League (PSL), Professor Mandla Mchunu, is at the centre of a major controversy after he appointed his own firm to run the affairs of the virtually penniless league - and then charged the PSL a whopping R500 000 a month.

The six-month contract, worth R3 million, is of major concern to some members of the league's board of governors (BoG).

According to a top BoG member who refused to be named, Mchunu, Mashinini and Associates (MM&A) has virtually taken over the running of the league.

In an apparent violation of the constitution of the statutory National Soccer League (NSL), of which the PSL is a trading division, Mchunu hand-picked his partners for the task: Mxolisi Zwane to lead the league's disciplinary committee and Allan Campbell to oversee its restructuring.

In addition to the lucrative contract, Mchunu also charges the PSL R950 an hour for his services. If he spends a full day at the office, that would earn him R7 600.

Club owners annoyed

This latest revelation has left a bitter taste in the mouths of several club owners. They are annoyed that while they were prepared to forgo their monthly grants from the PSL, Mchunu is raking in the money.

A major concern about the lucrative contract is that it was never put out to tender.

MM&A was given the job of restructuring the league and assessing its capacity to provide a top-class product, based on sound management, as part of what Mchunu calls the "seven pillar project", headed by Campbell.

The firm has also been made responsible for overhauling the PSL's finances and its information-technology (IT) capability, rendering PSL general manager Bafana Dhlamini and administrative officer Dan Leboa virtually redundant.

Dhlamini confirmed that a team of about 10 people from Mchunu's firm have been manning the league.

PSL accountant Selwyn van Wyk refused to be drawn into the simmering controversy but confirmed processing a cheque for R500 000 for Mchunu's firm last month, a month in which several clubs did not receive their grants.

'Milked by saviours'

An influential member of the league on Saturday lashed out at Mchunu, saying it was unfair that the cash-strapped PSL should be milked by people seen as saviours.

He said the PSL chairperson "should be a man of means" who should serve the league instead of "seeing it as a source of income".

Concern is also widespread that the appointment of Zwane will further complicate the issue because he is a prosecutor in the PSL's disciplinary committee (DC).

Article 7.12.2 of the NSL constitution stipulates that the "DC shall consist of such person or persons (excluding an official of the NSL or any person in any way connected with any member of the NSL) as are appointed by a duly authorised representative of the BoG, together with the chairman of the league and the president of Safa".

Some club officials have also become suspicious of the goings-on at the PSL's head office.

"It is unfair that clubs have not received their monthly grants and players go hungry, yet fat cats get cream on top," said one.

"So desperate was the league that they allowed Mchunu the leeway to set his own conditions," said another club official.

Football 'should hang its head in shame'

A club director, speaking anonymously, said football should hang its head in shame.

"A lot of people come into the game only to reap benefits. I am disappointed that only individuals tend to benefit and not the game at large."

But another club boss down-played the crisis, saying: "There is no way a professional like him can just work for charity."

Said a club owner: "Our football seems to be going from bad to worse."

PSL acting chief executive Leepile Taunyane defended the involvement of Mchunu's firm and said the deal was above board.

"I suppose the BoG must have hired the chairman knowing fully well that he would bring his own team, because they gave him a mandate to restructure the league."

Mchunu could not be reached for comment.