1. The South African Football Association (SAFA) has taken note of the purported letter dated 14 September 2018, doing rounds in the media, attributed to our Special Member the National Soccer League (NSL) incorporating the Premier Soccer League (PSL) regarding our recently concluded sponsorship agreement with OUTsurance and would like to set the record straight.

 

  1. At the outset we place on record that in terms of Article 10 of the FIFA Statutes, SAFA as the Member Association of FIFA is responsible for organizing and supervising football in all of its forms in South Africa. In other words SAFA is the custodian of football in South Africa.

 

  1. At this juncture it is important to refer to Article 18 of the FIFA Statutes which provides that:

“Status of Leagues and other groups of Clubs

18.1   Leagues or any other groups affiliated to a Member of FIFA shall be subordinate to and recognized by that Member. The Member’s statues shall define the scope of authority and the rights and duties of these groups. The statutes and regulations of these groups shall be approved by the Member.

 

  1. Accordingly, in terms of the SAFA Statutes read with the FIFA Statutes, the NSL (League) as an organization is subordinate to SAFA.

 

  1. It is SAFA that has licensed the NSL, which is a stake holder, to administer and run professional football in South Africa.

 

  1. On the contrary, it is not the NSL that runs and controls football in our country and that SAFA is subordinate to the NSL. THIS MUST BE MADEABSOLUTELY CLEAR.

 

  1. In respect of the matter of Referees, it must be made absolutely clear that in terms of the FIFA Statutes read with Article 46 of the SAFA Statutes, refereeing is solely the responsibility of SAFA. Above all in terms of Article 46.6 of the SAFA Statutes, it is SAFA that “appoints refereesfor all matches under the jurisdiction of SAFA and its affiliates”. In other words SAFA also has the responsibility to provide referees to the matches of the League; the League being an affiliate / special member of SAFA.

 

  1. In this respect SAFA will continue to look at ways to serve the best interests of the match officials in our country in all of its games both at the amateur and professional level.

 

  1. We may emphasise that the provision of referees to the league is but one element of SAFA’s responsibility for refereeing in the country; when one considers that the bigger picture for SAFA is the development and education of referees at all levels of football, starting at grassroots to professional football.

 

  1. The agreement between OUTsurance, as a visionary partner and SAFA, reflects SAFA’s will to serve the best interests of our referees in our country so that the game of football is not only protected and developed but that it also grows from strength to strength.

 

  1. Having said this, in terms of the sponsorship agreement with OUTsurance, the referees who are appointed to the games of the league will commence wearing OUTsurance branded kit forthwith, and over time, this will be rolled out to all referees at all levels of the game.

 

  1. We understand that the league appears to be complaining that the rights of OUTsurance are in conflict with the rights of Nedbank and Absa who are sponsors of the league. This is absurd and nonsensical, to say the least.

 

  1. Some of the clubs in the league have obtained sponsors such as Bidvest, Hollard and Standard Bank. Surely, if it is alleged that there is a conflict between OUTsurance (SAFA’s sponsor) and Absa Bank and Nedbank, then there is equally or may we say, a greater conflict between the clubs sponsors, Bidvest, Hollard and Standard Bank, on the one hand and Absa Bank and Standard Bank, on the other hand.

 

  1. World over, in National Associations affiliated to FIFA where a league has a presence, it is a fundamental requirement that the league which is subordinate to its National Association must get approval of any potential sponsor for the league, from the National Association before concluding any sponsorship agreement.

 

  1. In the case of the NSL (PSL and NFD), the league has not obtained permission from SAFA to enter into any sponsorship agreements whether with Absa, Nedbank or any other sponsor. This is one matter that has to be rectified immediately for and in the best interests of football in our country.

 

  1. We hasten to point out that if it is the stated intention of the sponsors of the league that it wants to monopolize advertising space in both the print and broadcasting space, SAFA will not hesitate to invite all sponsors and stake holders to a meeting to address their concerns in order to find a solution in the best interests of football.

 

  1. We trust that the league and its’ sponsors will understand the gravity and importance of this matter of refereeing and more importantly that SAFA as the custodian of football in our country, has the final say in all matters concerning the appointment of referees. In this regard we trust that the league as our special member will recognize that our referees will be kitted out in the brand of our sponsor OUTsurance from this weekend onwards, for the good of the game.

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