'The club is up in the air‚ everyone is up in the air‚' admits Celtic CEO Konco

25 September 2018 - 16:27 By Marc Strydom
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela chats to his players during the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on August 29 2018.
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela chats to his players during the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on August 29 2018.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Bloemfontein Celtic’s players have returned to full training this week following last week’s strike over signing-on fees not being paid‚ and in protest at the sale of the club falling through.

Celtic’s players did not train last week in protest of a sale agreement made in mid-August by debt-ridden chairman Max Tshabalala to business people Sinki Leshabane and Moeketsi Mosola being terminated‚ and some players’ signing-on fees having not been paid.

Despite this‚ Celtic managed to honour their Absa Premiership fixture against Maritzburg United on Sunday‚ though they slumped to their first defeat of the season‚ 1-0 at Dr Molemela Stadium.

Celtic CEO Khumbulani Konco said the players returned to training on Monday.

“The players are training now‚” he said.

Asked if that meant the strike had ended‚ he said: “I’m not saying the strike has ended. I’m just saying the players are back at training.

“Because remember‚ it’s not like there’s a union in-between and we are negotiating a wage increase‚ and then there’s a strike.

“So ja‚ the players are back at training. Yesterday they trained in full and today they trained in full‚ so they are back.”

Konco was asked if the reason he could not say the strike had ended was because the situation was still too up in the air at Celtic.

“Everything is up in the air‚” he said.

“The club is up in the air‚ everyone is up in the air.”

Konco said the players’ salaries have been up to date.

The strike was to do with some players still not having been paid their signing-on fees‚ and was made in solidarity by the entire squad.

Those have still not been paid‚ Konco said.

Some players have also threatened to terminate their contracts should Tshabalala retain ownership of the club.

Leshabane and Mosola pulled out of the sale agreement due‚ they claimed‚ to the ownership structure of the club being complicated – with two registered companies – and Tshabalala not being forthcoming with information they requested on those.

Tshabalala’s huge personal debt of R60-million‚ of which R43-million is owed to the South Africa Revenue Services (Sars)‚ who want to attach any funds paid to purchase Celtic‚ is believed to be another deterrent.

Tshabalala’s lawyer and cousin Mandla Tshabalala has said these are excuses‚ and should not be a stumbling block to a sale going through.

He has suggested that Leshabane and Mosola do not in fact have the funds to purchase Celtic at R40-million and then sustain the club.

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