Guest Columnist | PSL hierarchy needs urgent correction to rescue its brand

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images


Since its inception, the PSL brand has been growing and there is no question about the commercial success of the cash-flush league.

Last year alone, it raked in more than R1 billion in commercial revenue, continuing its impressive business growth.

However, the brand is lately showing a drastic decline in its reputation and value.

Events of the past few years, including its disagreement with Safa’s sponsorship involving referees, the buying of club statuses, the court’s involvement in a promotion debacle with Sekhukhune United and Royal AM, conflicts of interest in the league’s administration and shaky corporate governance have ripped away any pretence of mercantile legitimacy and fair sporting principles.

The on-field dominance by Mamelodi Sundowns has also somehow made the local league predictable and boring.

The latest incident of the dishing out of wads of cash by Royal AM to players, in full view of TV cameras, is illegal, distasteful, unprofessional, demeaning and against the spirit of ubuntu.

READ: Tim Spirit | Why PSL clubs must read the rulebook again

It created the impression that the PSL operates in a separate moral universe, untouched by the standards of conventional commerce.

Rules and regulations that underpin acceptable behaviour simply don’t apply. Management specialist Sibusiso Buthelezi is correct when he says the “clumsy and unprofessional conduct of Royal AM of dishing out money on the field is bringing the league and sponsors into disrepute and must not go unpunished”.

The PSL is riddled with conflicts of interest when it comes to the administration of the game.

So broken is the league’s moral compass that some coaches are complaining of interference in their contractual obligations and players not being paid accordingly.

Again, it is unprofessional and against company law and good governance principles to have a shareholder, namely Golden Arrows owner Mato Madlala, as the CEO of the PSL.

The buying and exchange of club statuses has so far failed to attract passionate football funders whose intentions are to grow the game

It is no wonder that the league has failed to resolve its disputes on time and avert “ambush marketing”.

The buying and exchange of club statuses has so far failed to attract passionate football funders whose intentions are to grow the game, the athletes and the league.

Instead, it has been abused by celebrities whose only interests are to pursue their personality-cult ambitions by exploiting the ego trip that goes with football.

The PSL has lost great club brands such as the centenarian Wits University and the vibrant Bloemfontein Celtic through the trading of the league’s club statuses.

READ: Royal’s party could come to an end

The regular change of PSL club names and licence buy-outs was turning the league into a “mumbo-jumbo league”, as former PSL CEO Trevor Phillips once said.

Worse, the history of these practices has been neither successful nor positive in strengthening the PSL brand. Most of these transactions have ended with relegations, and thus weakened the PSL brand.

The PSL hierarchy needs to take urgent measures to rescue its brand before it is red-carded by sponsors, spectators and fair sporting principles.

  • Khumalo is a marketing specialist and former Boxing SA board member


Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Latest issue
Latest issue
All the news from City Press in PDF form.
Read now
Voting Booth
With confirmation from government that convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escaped from prison last May and is currently on the run, what is your view of SA's justice system?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
The justice system is overwhelmed
12% - 14 votes
It's a joke
14% - 17 votes
Corruption is destroying SA
74% - 89 votes