We have noted with concern attempts by certain clubs to derail our u20 Team’s participation at the 2017 Edition of the FIFA World Cup in Korea by refusing to release certain players.

We have received letters from Bidvest Wits FC and Supersport United FC in which they have advised certain players against honouring a national call-up.

The reasons advanced by both Bidvest Wits FC and Supersport United are ill-advised, do not serve the national interest and go against SAFA Statutes that clubs are obliged to release the players to the national team.

We are quite concerned by Bidvest Wits FC’s self-serving reference to the u20 FIFA World Cup falling outside an international FIFA window and Supersport United FC’s insistence that they need players for their remaining fixtures that include the Nedbank Cup and the CAF Confederations Cup. The FIFA World Cup is the Number One priority for any country and the national interest takes precedence over anything else.

We submit that Bidvest Wits FC, Supersport United FC and other clubs participating in SAFA’s competitions, leagues and other structures, have an obligation to make their players available for national duty as and when needed. Bidvest Wits FC in particular’s consistent resistance to the call-ups from the national teams runs contrary to these principles.

In terms of Article 2.17.13 of the SAFA Statutes, SAFA has the authority ‘to select teams for International and Representative Matches at all levels and to arrange tours and to sanction matches in and regulate the transfer of players to and from the Republic of South Africa in terms of the FIFA Regulations.’

The Association is empowered, in terms of Article 2.17.18 of the SAFA Statutes, ‘to suspend, fine, terminate the Membership of or otherwise deal with any Member, Local Football Association, Club or individual affiliated to SAFA or any of its Members for infringing the Constitution, regulations, policies, principles or resolutions of SAFA or engaging in acts of misconduct, improper practises, misdemeanour, acts of defiance, or for bringing SAFA into disrepute.’

Since we are constantly faced with the ‘club v country’ phenomenon whereas some clubs use every excuse to withhold players from joining the national team set up, we regret to report, as we hereby do, that the Association will be forced to immediately invoke Article 2.17.18 amongst others, of the SAFA Statutes in pursuit of the objectives stated in Article 2.17.13 of the same Statutes.

We shall convene an urgent tribunal, seek the immediate suspension of the players in question and seek the severest penalty against all clubs that refuse to release players for the national team.

As a result, SAFA will convene a DC with the concerned clubs on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at SAFA House in a bid to urgently address this matter.