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Bloem Celtic owner crossing fingers over sale of club

Johannesburg – Embattled Premier Soccer League (PSL) club Bloemfontein Celtic owner Max Tshabalala is hoping that the latest proposed deal to buy the Free State soccer powerhouse will go through.

Tshabalala told City Press this week he had already forwarded all documents – including the financial status of the club – to the potential buyers led by Free State businesswoman Sinki Leshabane, who is also the owner of ABC Motsepe League side Mangaung United.

“I have rejected two offers because they were from outside the province and all they wanted was the (PSL) status of the club,” said Tshabalala, who bought the club from Jimmy Augousti four years ago.

“I am praying for this one to go through because we have agreed in principle that they will take over. Remember, this is a process that should also go through the PSL (for ratification).”

While Tshabalala confirmed the latest offer, he refused to disclose the selling price, but some media reports have estimated it to be about R40 million.

Tshabalala could only say the potential buyers would inherit a solid team.

When contacted for comment, Leshabane said: “We are still awaiting approval from the PSL.”

According to the leagues handbook on the acquisition and ownership of a club, any proposed sale must be submitted to the executive committee for written approval.

The constitution further states that “the executive committee will not unreasonably withhold or delay approval if the application meets all the requirements” including, but not limited to, the following:

– All employment contracts concluded by the member club shall be honoured, notwithstanding any pending transaction;

– The acquirer must satisfy the executive committee of the future financial stability and sustainability of the member club; and

– No person or entity may, directly or indirectly, acquire an interest or shareholding in a member club or a right to become a member of the league if he or it has, directly or indirectly, held an interest or shareholding in another club falling under the jurisdiction of the league in the 12-month period preceding the transaction.

Despite their problems, Celtic players have made an incredible start to the new Absa Premiership campaign.

Phunya Sele Sele opened their season with a comprehensive 2-0 home win over Chippa United last Sunday and followed up with another by the same margin against Golden Arrows in the middle of the week.

This feat came against the backdrop of a recent player boycott over unpaid salaries in the Celtic camp.

The Free Staters, alongside Bidvest Wits, are the only two Absa Premiership sides with 100% records after chalking up victories in their two opening fixtures.

With the league programme making way for the MTN8 quarter-finals this weekend, Celtic will resume their Absa Premiership programme with back-to-back clashes against Soweto giants Orlando Pirates at home on Saturday and against Kaizer Chiefs away on August 29.

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