Maritzburg United’s directors fielded a number of calls on Thursday in the wake of a Witness report that they would be open to offers for their top-flight status because of a claimed drop in income and an increase in debt.
The club’s chairperson and managing director, Farook Kadodia, said that the calls came from a mixture of concerned people and potential buyers.
“Most of the calls were from people who were surprised by the newspaper report, while two people from Gauteng called to say they were interested in buying the franchise,” said Kadodia.
“However, I made it clear to them that we hope to find ways to raise the club’s income ahead of the new season and that selling up will be a last resort. And, the offer will have to be a good one.”
The day before, Kadodia told the Witness that the directors were getting nervous about the club’s sizeable debt and may be open to a reasonable purchase offer for the franchise, or at least the sale of some of their matches to other municipalities to raise funds.
He said the debt stands at R9 million. It is in the form of loans the directors have had to make to the club to stay afloat in the Premier Soccer League, he said.
Locked-out fans a big loss
The main contributing factors, he claimed, were the loss of gate-takings through fans not being allowed at matches since March 2020 and the club no longer enjoying funding from the Msunduzi Municipality, which they received for six seasons before the start of last season.
Kadodia said the loss of turnstile activity cost the club R4 million, and that was compounded by the lack of municipal funding, which started at R8 million per season and grew larger down the seasons.
Prior to the onset of the lockdown in the country in March 2020, Maritzburg were among the top five clubs for crowd attendances, although many complimentary tickets used to be given away in terms of commercial arrangements the club had with certain parties, including the municipality.
He said the franchise is worth around R55 million.
The club have already released several players from last season’s squad that barely avoided relegation.
Meanwhile, TTM have been rebranded as Marumo Gallants in Limpopo. This follows the sale of the club during last season.