A franchise deal that fell through

The sale of Free State Stars Football Club to Swallows Football Club seems to have stalled due to a few reasons that were part of the policy in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and also the price of R60 million. The PSL was only awaiting a formal application for the change of ownership of Free State Stars Football Club when things turned out negatively.

Even though there were announcements made about the new name for the new team Swallows FC, the deals was not yet finalized and we can now confirm to you that it sounded easy but it was very difficult for the deal to be approved. There were certain rules that were to be followed for the deal to be approved. Firstly the first step was the conclusion of the deal, then followed by making statement to the media and the public in general. According to the rules within the league, the above mentioned steps are very necessary and bidding to avoid misleading the fans and sponsors of the league. The PSL was asking for transparency of the new investors of the Swallows FC. The PSL must be furnished with the identities of the investors of any newly formed side or any team that purchases the franchise of the other.

According to our sources, the payments of the deal were not finalized and that was also stalling the deal. It is believed that Mike Mokoena was asking for R60 million for the sale of Free State Stars. The misleading factor about the deal was that Free States Stars team has already sold a lot of their star players to other PSL teams when they realized that the deal will not go through. The players were told about the discontinuity of the team by club manager Rantsi Mokoena who is a son of the owner Mike Mokoena. This deal had a lot of mess involved and that led to a lot of problems.

According to our source within the Premier Soccer league, the deal was supposed to be finalized as early as possible by the PSL and by the time the deadline was announced, the PSL had not received any formal papers regarding the much reported deal which was speculating all over the country including neighboring countries. Free State Stars owner Mike Mokoena indicated his intentions of agreeing to sell the team to the Swallows FC owners and he gave the reasons of financial difficulties of running a professional football team.

The supposed buyers of Free State Stars included the Gauteng MEC for Education Mr. Panyaza Lesufi. The deal was supposed to be in the PSL offices by no later than Friday the 22nd July 2016 and if not then it would not be approved by the Premier Soccer League as indicated by the league chairman Dr. Irvin Khoza.

It is believed that Mike Mokoena’s intentions of selling the team was also prompted by the fact that in 2013/2014 PSL season, the team avoided relegation in the last minute and if they were relegated, he would have lost millions of rands as the PSL team status is worth millions. If the team was relegated, he would have not benefited from owning Free State Stars and he felt it was time to sell the team to make a profit and the start all over again.

There has been speculations about Free State Stars buying the status of Mthatha Bucks which is playing in the National First Division. The owners of Mthatha Bucks denied the allegations and indicated that they were not willing to sell their team as their goal is to be promoted to the PSL and have a team from the Eastern Cape Province, especially as they had a team formerly known as Umthatha Bush Bucks Football Club.

Failing of the sale of the team was a blessing in disguise for Free State Stars fans and bad for Moroka Swallows fans. The Swallows fans’ reaction about their team coming back to the PSL was very interesting as they indicated they have been praying day and night for a miracle to happen so that their team could return to the Premier Soccer League. The Free State Stars fans were disappointed after learning about the sale of their team. They were also praying day and night for the team sale not to be approved by the PSL as they were still feeling the pain of losing their team for the second time as it was once sold to the PSL when the league was trimming the PSL teams from 18 to 16. The other team that was sold to the league was Ria Stars Football Club.

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