Desperate Moroka Swallows launch plan for supporters to own the club
Panyaza Lesufi has said that parties trying to revive Moroka Swallows have come up with a unique crowd-funding model where interested people‚ regardless of their club affiliation‚ can buy shares in the rebranded Swallows FC from R350 from Tuesday.
Through the online model‚ which will see Swallows FC – a temporary name while liquidation processes are being resolved – would become the first club in Africa to be owned by supporters.
Gauteng MEC for Education Lesufi is leading the effort to save the once-great club that was relegated to the amateur ranks in the past season.
He said the parties are hoping to raise about R200 million in the coming eight weeks to buy a National First Division or Premier Soccer League status.
“The financial support out of this funding model will determine which direction we are going to take‚” Lesufi said.
“The ABC Motsepe League or where we are now in the fourth division are not options because those leagues are very difficult and I am sure you have read in the newspapers what goes on in those leagues.
“The NFD and the PSL are options that we will be interested in at the moment. We have two teams that have offered us (the sale of their franchises) but we have burned our fingers before and this time we want to have the financial muscle first.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday night‚ Lesufi briefed supporters and former Swallows players in Kempton Park about the plans to revive the club.
A new logo for was also unveiled.
“We are taking the brand back into the hands of the people. We have been inundated by supporters of football who are worried and disappointed and have asked us to do something to rescue the team‚” he said.
“So‚ we worked flat out to formulate documents where we left no stone unturned from a technical‚ financial and broader strategy point of view.
“We are now planting the seed back to our people by saying let’s have a team that will be the first in the history of our country to be owned by ordinary supporters.”
Lesufi said people who will buy shares in the club will have a good return on their investments through dividends and they are following a model that is successful in Spain‚ Argentina‚ Turkey‚ Germany and Sweden.
“There is no single team that is owned by supporters in our country and there is no supporter who can say‚ ‘I am having a return on investment’.
“We are putting out a team which is going to be owned by the people regardless of whether you support Kaizer Chiefs‚ Orlando Pirates‚ Mamelodi Sundowns or any other team.
“If you want to own and have something that is called a share from R350 you can own a stake in the club and get a return in your investment and get seasonal tickets and other creative offers‚ which is something that is not popular and it has never been used in our country.”
Lesufi added that the group have finally resolved the long-running ownership issue of the club and are on the final leg of finalising the liquidation of Moroka Swallows FC.
“We have sorted that out and I want to thank those people who have cooperated with us because it was a difficult process as we had to persuade people to cede their shares and everything‚” he said.
“The only remaining leg is to finally have a judge finalise the liquidation process. When the liquidation process is finalised‚ the club will go from Swallows FC and back to Moroka Swallows FC because we did not want to delay things waiting for the liquidation process where we are still negotiating with some of the people that we owe.
“So‚ we felt that while we are still busy with the liquidation process‚ let’s have a vehicle that we can utilise‚ and when we have sorted all those things out we can go back to the original name.
“This is still Moroka Swallows – Swallows FC is just that there as a transitional mechanism to get something that is clean‚ and can be audited‚ because Moroka Swallows could not be audited.”