Free State Government steps in over Bloemfontein Celtic crisis
Posted: 14 January 2019 Time: 18:00
The Free State government is making R2.5million available to cash-strapped Bloemfontein Celtic in order to keep their home matches at Dr Molemela Stadium.
This is according to Bloemfontein Celtic National Supporters’ Club chairperson Mabena Pule.
Celtic, who were put up for sale by owner Max Tshabalala a while back, have explored hosting some games in other provinces to try and service their reported debt of around R60m.
"Ja, as supporters we are playing a role in the team," Pule told KickOff.com.
"We are the ones that went to the government and told the government that the team is actually going out of the province, to play in another province. Economically it affects the province. And the government said 'We will talk to the management and they must give us a proposal of that municipality or metros so we could be able to check the figures'. The government came back to us and said, ‘We are actually injecting R2.5 million’.
"We will give it to Celtic so that Celtic’s home games must be in Bloemfontein at Dr Petrus Rantai Molemela Stadium. We have established a trust fund account with Absa Bank. So our intention is basically, because our team now is struggling financially, we are going to collect the money and it will be deposited into the trust fund account. So that when there is a financial problem in the team, we are able to give the team the money. But it's not just a gift. It is to say we are giving you this much and this much. We will like to acquire some shares from that particular team. But in doing that we will leave it to the professionals, who are voluntarily trying to help us in establishing how much is one share at Bloemfontein Celtic. Is it market related na?
Asked about the developments, Celtic spokesman Sello Nduna said the club simply wanted to adopt what the likes of Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United are doing by playing some of their home matches in other provinces to ease their financial woes.
"As you are also aware, the team is going through a difficult financial patch," Nduna said.
"And obviously there was a move of the team to go and play some of the games in Nelson Mandela Bay [Stadium] in PE. That was based purely on the challenges that the team is facing. As you can be aware, other PSL teams are doing as Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport [are]; they are taking games to different municipalities, obviously with a financial injection in there from different municipalities.
"But that came as a bit of a shock I would say to our supporters. I mean they even thought now that means they are going to forfeit their home games being played in PE. Obviously the team was doing that because of the financial situation that is happening currently in the team. But then obviously supporters’ structures started engaging the government officials this side. That's how the financial injection came in, as a way of trying to help the team."
Besides injecting money into the club, the provincial government is also said to be engaging with three potential buyers in a bid to keep the team in Bloemfontein.
Pule's organisation will meet with Celtic's management this week to voice their grievances after boycotting Sunday's 1-1 draw between Siwelele and Golden Arrows at Dr Molemela Stadium in protest at how the club is being run.