Sat, 24 Oct 2020

One-time iconic and perennial franchise-selling Highlands Park will remain in existence as an amateur club in SAFA's lower divisions following on the recent sale of their status in the PSL's Premiership to TS Galaxy.

This was confirmed on Monday by chairperson Brad Kaftel about the renowned club known as "The Lions of the North" who in 1982 also similarly sold their NPSL status to Jomo Cosmos - before making a successful return to the professional ranks six years ago via promotion from the PSL second division structure.

And, in what might be termed a questionable "going backwards to move forward" approach, Kaftel did not rule out the possibility of Highlands returning to professional soccer at some stage in the future.

"Selling the Premiership status to TS Galaxy was not a decision we took lightly," added Kaftel, "but the financial implications of running a professional team effectively right now in the current dire financial situation forced our hand," with the Highlands boss revealing the club had lost approximately R60-million in the past six years and was heavily in debt in spite of not inconsiderable sponsorships.

It has also been pointed out that other less organised, tradition-steeped and affluent clubs are carrying on with the aid of the monthly grant of over R2-million from the PSL and Highlands, particularly in view of the club's distinguished tradition that goes back to their dominance in the former NFL structure in the 1960s and 1970s, should have made a similar effort.

Also, the tepid attitude of the PSL administration in not placing name-changing restrictions of one sort or another on clubs, particularly those with a long-standing tradition who sell their League franchises - the recent similar Bidvest Wits sale is a further case in point - damaging the League's own heritage in no small degree.

A case reminiscent of the old legend of Nero fiddling while Rome burnt, it has been suggested.

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