Moroka Swallows lose out on yet another massive sponsorship deal

Moroka Swallows lose out on yet another massive sponsorship deal

In what has been one of the toughest weeks for Moroka Swallows, SABC Sport has also learnt of yet another big opportunity missed to land a lucrative sponsor.

Swallows are still reeling from the effects of failing to land a sponsorship deal with telecommunications giants Telkom in 2021, which, at the time, reports suggested the Premier Soccer League blocked due to a conflict with its own sponsors MTN and MultiChoice.

And they have recently been hampered by a dispute with players, who have reportedly not been paid salaries over the last two months, owing to the club's dire financial situation.

READ: Moroka Swallows financial troubles leads to PSL fixtures cancellation

The public broadcaster has gathered that Gold Rush, a company involved in hospitality and gambling had concluded a huge deal worth around an estimated R15-20 million per season with The Dube Birds.

However, the stumbling block was signing the PSL’s Declaration for betting companies to sponsor its member clubs, which has been confirmed by the Soweto club chairman David Mogashoa.

This has been likened to the previously much-publicised Telkom sponsorship deal that was rejected by the League's Executive Committee, except this time it was the sponsor who wouldn’t agree to signing the mandatory declaration.

"They wanted to sponsor everything, and we had everything – just like the Telkom deal – agreed on, the numbers and everything. The only difference now was that we just needed to put Gold Rush on the jersey, as we wanted with Telkom, and we were ready to play," explained Mogashoa.

"The PSL has this declaration that betting companies must sign if they want to sponsor a club, but Gold Rush was not comfortable signing it and instead tried to get its other wing in Hospitality and Casino to lead in this deal.

"We agreed, and I submitted that document to the PSL, requesting approval for sponsorship on Casino and Hospitality, but [PSL’s Head of Legal] Michael Murphy scrutinised the document and said it won’t work because they have a betting division. 

"So he insisted they needed to sign the declaration, and this is where the problem was."

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This declaration form is understood to center around issues of data, with the PSL believed to be open to onboarding a betting sponsor, which would then allow that sponsor to have full rights to the data of the league’s competitions and its clubs. 

This would then mean that all the other club’s betting sponsors, would have to access the Data Collector – collecting, transmitting, distributing results, data, and statistics for all football matches through this potential PSL betting partner or sponsor.

This simply means that the league would retain full control over granting licenses for betting and gambling services related to its matches, with clubs prohibited from doing so independently.

The declaration on betting sponsors came after the legal showdown between the League and Cape Town City back in 2018, when The Citizens concluded a sponsorship agreement with SportPesa, but the PSL was quick to throw the rule book at them.

There had been a resolution by the Board of Governors back in 2010 that no club would sign a sponsorship agreement with a sports betting company until the league had carried out an investigation into the agreement and issued the green light.

Before the signing of the SportPesa deal, City had not approached the PSL for approval and the matter dragged went as far as arbitration, prompting a rule change in 2019 to allow clubs to take on betting sponsors only for shirt sponsorship and not explicit betting promotion.

Golden Arrows recently partnered with 10bet, an online betting company that also sponsors Bafana Bafana, and it’s believed they had no problems signing the PSL's declaration.

“It’s a serious damage, it’s not something that can be easily undone. Sometimes it’s discouraging, whether you should proceed with this football thing or you can keep your money and enjoy it with your kids,” bemoaned a discouraged Mogashoa.

To run a football team efficiently, Mogashoa says he still needs to top up the R2 million PSL grant to his monthly budget of R4,2 million, with this believed to apply to most topflight clubs, especially with high earners on their books.

SABC Sport sought comment from the League, specifically it's Head of Legal Michael Murphy, but this was not available at the time of publication and will be shared accordingly once received.

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