Clubs that are in a battle to avoid relegation know that there’s so much to lose if they go down to the National First Division.
Being in the PSL comes with so much exposure for clubs, who can attract sponsors due to the fact that they are in the country’s biggest league and matches are shown on television week in and out. Sponsors always want to know how they are going to benefit, which is why a lot of teams end up losing their sponsorship deals when they get relegated from the top flight.
But there’s so much more to it. The PSL grant, which currently stands at R1.5 million a month, helps club bosses to either pay salaries, book hotels and transport for matches or anything else they need, especially those that do not have major sponsorship deals.
These clubs currently sitting in the danger zone are away that gate takings are higher than usual when they host the likes of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, but going down to the NFD. Maritzburg United and Black Leopards, though, do well with crowds at the stadium even when they are not hosting one of the big three clubs.
Earlier this season, KickOff.com spoke to Jomo Cosmos owner and coach Jomo Sono about the costs of running a club in the NFD. Clubs in the second tier get a grant of R500 000, a million less than what clubs in the Absa Premiership get, so this would be a big adjustment for any of the clubs that get relegated this weekend.
Sono did, however, say that the grant comes in handy.
“The grant is okay. We can’t complain about it. It’s not money you work for, so it helps a lot with the salaries because without a grant we would not be able to pay salaries. You would not pay anything actually, because to a run a [home] game I have to pay security. I have to rent the ground. It’s a lot of money. By the time the game is finished you have to go to the camp, you have to get [food for] players to eat. We spend about R25 000 a game. People don’t know that. It’s a bit expensive, but the grant helps a lot. We really appreciate it,” he said in February.
So as Maritzburg, Chippa United, Free State Stars, Leopards and Baroka FC head into the final day of the season tomorrow, they’ll have a lot to play for to ensure they stay in the big league, where they stand to benefit from the league's partnership with Absa, as well as Multichoice, who hold the rights to show PSL matches, having paid R1 billion to the league.
Bottom of the table Maritzburg face Bakgaga in Polokwane in what could turn out to be the match of the weekend, while Chippa host Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Ea Lla Koto have a tough battle against leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and Leopards welcome Cape Town City to Thohoyandou Stadium.
All matches kickoff at 15h00.