PSL could lose millions if betting sponsorship kept out of domestic football: Comitis
Cape Town City boss John Comitis says the Premier Soccer League (PSL) must follow the example of other leagues around the world and embrace sponsorships from sport betting companies.
City are heading to Safa arbitration at the end of July‚ having been hauled there by the PSL for signing a shirt sponsorship with betting company SportPesa without asking permission‚ as per the rules and guidelines of the league.
SportPesa is an online betting platform‚ with offices in several African countries.
Comitis said he hoped sanity would finally prevail at arbitration‚ saying that the club had not breached any of the PSL rules and guidelines. He added that these betting companies could inject a lot of money into the local game‚ and the PSL runs the risk of losing out if such companies are shut out.
“At the end of the day‚ I hope there is sanity because there is a lot of money in these betting companies‚” he said. “There is a lot of money out there in betting companies which want to come to the PSL‚ and we can’t block it. I think it will be a positive for the league and‚ if they want to sell betting rights‚ they can do that.”
He also defended Cape Town City taking on SportPesa as a sponsor.
"I didn’t infringe on their betting rights. As far as I am concerned‚ ours is just a sponsorship and I don’t think I am breaking any rules. There are about nine clubs in the UK that are involved in partnerships with betting companies and we can’t ignore that‚” he said.
Some of the clubs in the English Premier League which have partnerships with betting companies are Hull City‚ Arsenal‚ Southampton and Everton. Retired former Bafana Bafana international midfielder Steven Pienaar is an ambassador at Everton.
“Change is always scary and when you bring something new everybody reacts. But when the dust settles you start thinking positively and that’s where we are at the moment.
"If we lose the case‚ we will just have to make another plan and hopefully we won’t get to that. At the moment we are supposed to go to arbitration at the end of July and hopefully this issue will be resolved because it has been dragging for too long‚” he said.