Absa Premiership

The PSL's heritage failure

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Highlands Park (PA)
Highlands Park (PA)

It contains a distinct whiff of the old legend of Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burnt as the PSL administration unhappily continues to disregard its own heritage in allowing the identity of renowned clubs like Wits and Highlands Park to disappear on the completion of their pending sales.

This disregard in not ensuring a situation that would ironically be to the PSL organisation's own advantage is unlike that in other countries around the world where name changing in a change in ownership - even involving some of the world's most famous clubs - would be an unthinkable proposition.

At this time, despite finding themselves in past years in similar situations to that in which Wits and Highlands are currently set to be removed from South African soccer's premier professional soccer division as a result of the sale of their relevant franchises to lower division clubs with none of the stature or credibility of those they are replacing, the PSL has given no indication to inserting a simple change in their constitution that would halt the distorted changes to teams' names and character.

Perhaps such a change to the PSL's rules might be too late to halt the undesirable demise of Wits and Highlands, but it would put a halt to the undesirable practice of clubs leapfrogging to a higher division through the backdoor in the future via a financial deal.

Indeed, TS Sporting, who now replace Highlands, barely escaped from relegation from the second-tier GladAfrica Championship by the skin of their teeth.

And what better confirmation is needed to preserve the character and identity of clubs of note than to point out that among the change in ownerships that have routinely taken place round the world include the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, AC Milan and others - with any change in name quite prohibitive.

What is more, as well as best serving its own interests, the PSL owes it to the fans generally to preserve the heritage of their clubs.

But as Nero needed to serve the interests of the populace instead of fiddling on the violin when Rome experienced its great fire almost 2 000 years ago, the PSL is following a misguided course into the fire as well.

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