by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – EFFORTS are underway to salvage the much- needed sponsorship Swallows Football Club have agreed with a blue-chip telecommunications company, only for the besieged Premier Soccer League (PSL) to reject.
All was set for the announcement of the shirt sponsorship by Telkom towards the end of the past season, to the extent of the parties scheduling a press conference to unveil the partnership in fanfare.
The PSL then threw spanners to the much-anticipated deal, citing conflict of interest. Fans decried the move as unfair and denying The Birds a vital source of income, especially in the economic uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 scourge .
The snub by the authorities emanated from the league already having deals with prime title sponsor, MultiChoice, and MTN.
Both companies, like Telkom, are in the telecommunications sector.
CAJ News Africa is reliably informed that the reborn Dube Birds, who finished the past campaign a credible sixth in their maiden year back in the topflight, retain hope that an agreement can be reached.
Telkom, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) – listed firm, is also pinning its hopes on these sensitive negotiations reaching a breakthrough.
Mooketsi Mocumi, Executive: Group Communication at Telkom, confirmed the organisation’s position in a response to an enquiry by CAJ News Africa.
“We are aware that Swallows FC is still in discussions with the PSL and we remain confident that the club and the PSL will find a solution that is beneficial to all parties,” the executive stated.
Mocumi dared not delve deeper into the delicate discussions, stating, “We are unable to give further details and await the decision of the PSL.”
The PSL has in recent weeks had its hands full with the taxing relegation/promotion playoffs that have proven to be the elite league’s legal nightmare of note.
The plagued playoffs kicked off this past weekend after weeks of uncertainty.
Chippa United defeated Richards Bay 2-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Swallows, meanwhile, remained tight-lipped on discussions with the mother body regarding the sponsorship.
“The CEO (Sipho Xulu) said ‘no comment’ at this stage,” Elasto Kapowezha, the Swallows manager, said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
Without a shirt sponsor, Swallows have been sporting the “Bawhiti” banner, in a pro-bono arrangement with the Bahwiti Investments, the automotive repair and maintenance firm owned by club chairman, David Mogashoa.
Revered English sportswear apparel firm, is Swallows’ kit supplier.
Amid the proposed Telkom sponsorship hitting a deadlock, the Soweto-based side majorly relies on the R2 million monthly grant PSL pays each of the 16 teams in the top tier of South African football.
Enjoying a large following as one of the oldest sides in the country, Swallows are a sponsor’s paradise.
Fellow Soweto outfits, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, enjoy a lucrative sponsorship by rival telecommunications firm, Vodacom, but its unaffected by the conflict of interest clauses as the deals were already in place when MTN and MultiChioce entered partnerships with PSL.
Telkom itself has previously been involved as a PSL partner.
It sponsored the Telkom Knockout from 2006 until its demise ahead of the past season.
The telco, at the timely solely a landline company, also sponsored the one-day, four-team Charity Cup from 2007 to 2010 when the spectacular was removed from the football calendar.
– CAJ News