The Premier Soccer League (PSL) have confirmed the sale of Bloemfontein Celtic to the owners of Royal AM that will see one of the most historic teams in South African football disappear from the landscape.
Cash-strapped owner Max Tshabalala has been forced to sell Celtic with the club on the brink of going out of business, and Royal AM owner Shauwn Mkhize will now relocate the team to Durban under the banner of her club’s name.
In turn, the second-tier status of Royal AM has been told to the owners of Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), who had a brief, disastrous stay in the DStv Premiership last season before they sold up to Marumo Gallents in January.
The change comes in the same week the league season is set to get under-way, but PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza says they had to approve the deal or face having only 15 clubs in the top-flight in 2021-22.
“The critical issue, and despite our discomfort, the thing facing us is the issue of the solvency of the club or the risk of insolvency,” Dr Khoza said.
“These are the defining elements – if someone says, ‘I can’t afford (to keep the club), then what do you do? You can offer the team to the community first (to keep it there), and if there are no takers, then there is a problem.
“When the league starts there must be 16 teams, if we do not then we have a problem that disrupts our own funding model. The executive interrogated the matter thoroughly, but we are forced to do what we are doing to keep football alive.”
© Mzansi Football