Money might not be able to buy you love but it can buy you a top-flight football club, writes GARY LEMKE.
The news that Moroka Swallows, the famous Soweto club that suffered two successive relegations and fell into the third division ABC Motsepe League, have been able to ‘buy’ their way back into the PSL comes hard on the heels of Cape Town City’s ‘re-launch’.
Swallows, it appears, were destined for oblivion, but now appear to have been able to secure the franchise of Free State Stars and will relocate the existing players and club to Johannesburg.
That comes a matter of weeks after Cape Town City announced that they had taken over the franchise of Mpumalanga Black Aces in a move which saw them leapfrog from literally nowhere into the PSL.
Although the conditions around Swallows’ re-emergence are a little sketchy, but which will rapidly emerge, it appears that money has changed hands that will see two clubs achieve PSL status without earning it on the field of play.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi disputes the detail though. ‘I can assure you and I can tell you now, even the new name that is going to be is not going to be Moroka Swallows, there’s going to be another name,‘ he reportedly said.
‘In terms of regulations and in terms of people saying we’re getting into the Premier League through backdoors or other things is unfounded. It’s something that we’re very careful in adhering to.’
Getting into the Premier League through backdoors? Ah, so did they just march through the front door?
Is it not wrong that, however much one celebrates the fact that Cape Town City and Swallows are two famous names that look likely to be in the PSL again, are able to buy a franchise and ‘simply’ get amongst the big boys without any sort of qualification, other than the power of money?
Is it possible for similarly olds, ‘famous’ clubs, such as Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Newcastle or Leeds United to knock on the door of Watford, Bournemouth or Southampton and say, ‘here’s a wheelbarrow full of pounds, can we buy your spot in the English Premier League?’ Or in any other top flight in the world for that matter.
Money is said to make the world go round and that statement is ever so true in football. There are absurd amounts of cash going round and Paul Pogba is said to be on the brink of becoming the sport’s first £100-million man. And in China, the cash that is being thrown around like confetti is enough to fund small country’s economies.
However, they have stopped short of buying their way into the established top-flights without working their way through the structures, unless I am wrong? And what about the fans of Mpumalanga Black Aces and Free State Stars?
You go to bed one night as a Black Aces or Stars fan, dreaming of success in the 2016-17 Premier Soccer League season and wake up the next morning not even having a club to support, let alone one in the top flight.
To me there is something wrong with that.
Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images