League outlines plan to ‘upgrade’ players

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Announcing this at a PSL Special General Meeting held at the Sandton Sun, Johannesburg on Saturday that was attended by all 32 Absa Premiership and National First Division clubs, the chairman Irvin Khoza said they would engage directly with players, visiting them at their clubs.

“Amongst the matters we will discuss with them are the repercussions of the various deals we have signed, the vision of the League and the very vital role that they play in this.

Khoza said there was major concern regarding discipline, personal presentation, and work ethic among some of the players.

“A lot of our players get a big shock when they are transferred abroad and find themselves having to attend rigorous training sessions up to three times a day. “We are undertaking this initiative with a view to empowering the players.

Khoza also disclosed that Kjetil Siem, Chief Executive Officer of the League, has been assigned with the task of establishing a programme through which players will be given lessons in public relations and management.

“A lot of these players have signed endorsement agreements with corporate companies specifically because of the high profile nature of their jobs, so they are expected to act in a certain manner when dealing with the public, media etc. We want to assist them in this regard, that is, to train them to be in a better position to handle these.”

Khoza also said that there are a number of urgent issues that need to be sorted out in this area, among which was the question of whether to go the route of having full-time professional referees or not?

Another matter is to discuss the proposed visit to the clubs to educate players, technical team members and club officials more about the laws of the game.

The matter concerning sponsorship commissions was deferred until the second week of February 2008 as there was further legal advice still being sought on the matter. The league is also awaiting the legal opinion of one of the members of the senior counsel.

Khoza also announced that the South African Football Players Union is to be given a grant of R500 000 by the league in order to assist them to kick-start their activities surrounding a players’ provident fund, players’ medical aid and a player insurance scheme

Khoza added that the League will discuss the matter of a minimum wage and other related matters with the union in a Bargaining Chamber at a later stage.

Commenting on the League’s announcement, Player’s Union national organiser Cappy Matutoane said it was a good initiative and that the union supported it whole-heartedly.

“We have been struggling for this for over a year now, but the grant is not the end of it.

“Discussions are still ongoing and we will meet in the Negotiations Chamber sometime in January to discuss issues such as minimum salaries, pensions and insurance.”

“We are also hoping to improve relations with all the leagues and other organisations, such as Safa.

“We will also be participating in the venture with the PSL and visiting all the clubs to chat with the players to educate them as professionals.”

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