Cape Town City and its owner John Comitis face the possibility of stiff sanction‚ even the possibility of expulsion from the Premier Soccer League‚ over their shirt sponsorship with SportPesa.
That is if a specially convened Board of Governors meeting on Thursday decides to punish City for “defiance” of the organisation’s rules.
The 32 clubs of the top-flight and National First Division meet at a Johannesburg hotel on Thursday to deliberate the issue of Comitis’ signing-up with sports betting company SportPesa as shirt sponsors in defiance of league directives and a seven-year-old resolution.
The board of governors could decide on either a fine‚ a suspension or expulsion in a matter that has pitted Comitis head-to-head against the PSL’s all-powerful chairman Irvin Khoza.
Comitis had been warned against doing a deal with the Bulgarian-owned betting company‚ who are also sponsors of English Premier League club Everton and several teams in East Africa‚ where they do extensive business.
The league has no specific rules prohibiting sports betting companies as sponsors but its does require clubs to seek permission first.
Comitis did not and went ahead with signing the sponsorship deal and the team wearing the firm’s logo on the club’s livery despite a warning from the PSL before City’s first match of the season in the MTN8 against Polokwane City last month.
City have worn SportPesa’s logo on their shirt in their four subsequent matches and were expected to do so again in Wednesday night’s match at home against Kaizer Chiefs.
Consequently‚ the league has thrown the book at Comitis and evoked its Rule 9.16.
This gives the PSL the power “to suspend‚ fine‚ terminate the membership of or otherwise sanction or deal with any Member Club‚ Member Club Official‚ Player or individual falling under the jurisdiction of the League for infringing the NSL Handbook or for engaging in acts of misconduct‚ improper practices‚ acts of defiance‚ or for bringing the League into disrepute”.
A full session of the board of governors met a fortnight ago to discuss the matter and now convene again to pass judgment. All clubs have a vote in the matter with 10 votes for the PSL teams and two each for the NFD sides.
A resolution was passed seven years ago that a PSL clubs would not taken on a sports betting companies as sponsors until the league had investigated the issue more thoroughly‚ but this investigation was never carried out.