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'It’s very disappointing': Booth on clubs selling PSL status

Bidvest Wits confirmed on Wednesday night that they had sold their credentials to National First Division side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC.

FILE: Matthew Booth.  Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former player Matthew Booth has called on the Premier Soccer League’s board of governors to rethink the selling of clubs' status.

His comments come after Bidvest Wits confirmed on Wednesday night that they had sold their credentials to National First Division side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC.

In a statement, the club said the sale was subjected to PSL exco approval.

Explaining their decision, they say: "It comes as a result of our shareholders, Bidvest, the decision to review their sports-related sponsorships and brings to an end a 15-year long partnership.”

BWFC Chairman Alan Fainman commented: "Our people are important to us and we will treat them with respect and fairness in these challenging times. The sale of the club will not affect the players contracts in any way. With regards to the sale of the club and the manner in which it was announced to the public, I would like to re-iterate that at the time of the announcement, the deal had not yet been signed. Pen has now been put to paper between the new purchaser and Bidvest.”

Having played for the club, Booth admits it's disappointing that once again a club can sell its top-flight status.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said on Thursday. “I’ve seen the habit of clubs or wannabe-club owners buying promotion, I must encourage the board of governors to perhaps clamp down on this kind of practice. I don’t think it does our game any good. You don’t want to see clubs becoming nomads because you are not then able to generate a support base. Those are the two reasons I am disappointed that it happened once again. Particularly with an institution of Wits caliber and standing. It is very disturbing.”

Reflecting on Wits' sale, Booth admits while players might easily find new clubs, the backroom staff will suffer most.

“Jack (Ndlovu), the kitman, has been there for over a decade. What is going through his mind? The manager, bra George (Mogotsi), guys I’ve personally interacted with. Who are institutions themselves. What are they going to do? What is going through their minds? At least the players should have some sort of recourse, it’s a very talented squad and they will get offers. I think both parties didn’t think it through and didn’t show enough concern for those personalities who have given their all to the club.”

The future of Gavin Hunt is also in the air, with TTM confirming they won’t keep him on.

Booth doesn’t expect the four-time Premiership winner to struggle when it comes to finding a new job.

“I haven’t heard anything and it’s all rumor-mongering. There’s no doubt that there are going to be clubs who will be interested in his services. He is one of the most decorated coaches in the league, so naturally, he will be in demand.”