Royal AM buy their way into DStv Premiership as Celtic bow out after 50 years

The club, previously known as Royal AM will, as a result, compete in the Glad Africa Championship as Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, with their home base being Thohoyandou.

FILE: Chairman of the South African Premier Soccer League, Irvin Khoza speaking at the PSL Headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg on 23 April 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has confirmed the transfer of business of Bloemfontein Celtic to Royal AM, who will compete in the DStv Premiership, and relocate to KwaZulu-Natal.

The club, previously known as Royal AM will, as a result, compete in the Glad Africa Championship as Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, with their home base being Thohoyandou.

The sale ends Celtic’s 50-year football existence and PSL chairperson Dr. Irvin Khoza has tried to explain why status buying still continues.

“Something we consider always, as much as Article 14 says this [too], is the issue of the solvency, insolvency, or risk of insolvency of the club. Because if somebody says, ‘I cannot afford’, what do you do?” he said on Tuesday morning at a briefing.

“We have been practicing something very interesting to say, ‘offer a team to the community first.’ If there are no takers, what happens next? Because as a league we’ve got an obligation to the sponsors that when the league starts, you need to have 16 teams in the DStv Premiership and 16 in the Glad Africa Championship. So, you’ve got to make a decision. Not because of convenience but because of the reality. Because if you are not providing that, there’s a breach — it’s got its own penalties, it affects our funding model - which is a problem that besets us every time, we don’t have too many people in our football with deep pockets.”

At the briefing, Khoza also expressed his support for the adoption of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in domestic football, while acting CEO Mato Madlala revealed that there remains no cup competition to replace the Telkom Knockout, which was last contested in the 2019/20 season.

“Teams have got to spend one or two additional days wherever they go because there are no flights, going to Durban, going to Cape Town, after 6, you cannot,” she revealed about traveling logistics.

“Whether you play at three or at five, you will not be able to go home, those are the challenges we are facing. The few gaps that we have, we are keeping those, and we don’t have any. We might have to stretch the season as well, which is why an additional competition, at this stage, is not feasible.”

Fans remain outside the grounds amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and Khoza has discussed what needs to be done for them to return.

“It’s a question of the government. We can’t make a determination on that one. It’s our wish. What you saw in the EPL [English Premier League] and the Euro [2020] but with all those people, I am told they were vaccinated. So, at the moment, our people are a bit slow in vaccinating”.

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