Safa reminds PSL who is the boss over OUTsurance referee spat

Safa sends out strong message to PSL.
Safa sends out strong message to PSL.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

The South African Football Association (Safa) have released a statement firmly reminding the National Soccer League (NSL) who is boss over the issue of a new sponsorship by OUTsurance for referees.

Safa told the NSL‚ the professional wing that administers the Premier Soccer League (PSL) that in terms of Fifa statutes “the NSL as an organisation is subordinate to SAFA”.

Safa‚ the governing body for all football in South Africa‚ including the PSL‚ administers refereeing‚ even for the professional matches overseen by the professional league.

The FA’s statement was in response to a letter reported on in the media where the PSL’s sponsors were allegedly questioning a conflict of interest in referees in Premier League matches wearing the branding of OUTsurance.

This reportedly went so far as to threaten the match officials wearing the apparel in this weekend’s league matches.

However Safa have sent out a strongly-worded release reminding the PSL in no uncertain terms that the association “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”.

The release stated: “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 MADE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR.

“ … 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 referees for all matches under the jurisdiction of SAFA and its affiliates.

“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.

“… 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.

“ … 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.

Safa said any purported complaints of a conflict of interest from the PSL’s headline sponsors was “nonsensical”.

“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‚" Safa's statement read.

“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 and Absa Bank and Nedbank‚ then there is equally or ... a greater conflict between the clubs sponsors‚ Bidvest‚ Hollard and Standard Bank ... and Absa Bank and Standard Bank.

Safa alleged that the PSL had never obtained permission from the association to conclude their sponsorship deals.

“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 Association before concluding any sponsorship agreement.

“The NSL (PSL and NFD) 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.

“ ... 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.”

A full round of eight PSL matches will be played this weekend.