PSL confirms sale of Bloemfontein Celtic, renamed to Royal AM

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Victor Letsoalo of Bloemfontein Celtic
Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
The league body chairman confirms they have sanctioned the sale of the club only three days before the new season kicks off

The PSL has confirmed Bloemfontein Celtic will be renamed Royal AM ahead of the new 2021-22 season.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza confirmed on Tuesday they had officially approved the sale of the club in accordance with article 14 of the National Soccer League handbook.

What did Khoza say?

“There is a matter of transactions. It is a matter that has its own history, it almost took the executive three days of deliberation,” Khoza explained to reporters as quoted by idiskitimes.

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“The main point is the transition must be seamless because there are a lot of stakeholders affected by this transition.

“There is a very important issue that we discussed, the future financial stability [of the club]. The future financial stability is a matter that faces us every day in football.

“We want to protect the history of a club, but the issue of sustainability is a problem. Regardless of our discomfort when we deal with transitions sometimes, we must make sure we are doing the right thing.

What PSL considered before the decision

“We must consider two things, the issue of the insolvency of the club, the risk of insolvency. If somebody says ‘I cannot afford.’ What do you do?”

Philani Zulu of Kaizer Chiefs and Neo Maema of Bloemfontein Celtic, April 2021

Khoza continued: “As a league, we have an obligation that the league must start with 16 teams, we’ve got commitments with sponsors, tv, etc. We don’t have too many in our football with deep pockets.

“That’s why it almost took us three days to discuss this matter.

“It is very important that the players and other employees must be protected. In a case of insolvency, people lose jobs.”

When was Bloemfontein Celtic formed?

Celtic, who enjoys a large fan base in the Free State, was founded by Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatane in 1969 and they administered the club until the early 1980s when financial challenges forced them to sell the club to Petrus "Whitehead" Molemela.

In November 2001, after the relegation of Phunya Sele Sele, Molemela sold his shares in the club to Demetri "Jimmy" Augousti, a former Celtic player.

After only three years out of the top-flight, the club regained its PSL status with an impressive season in 2003-04 when they were crowned First Division champion and they also managed to win the 2005 SAA Supa 8 and the 2007 Telkom Charity Cup.

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