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How Are Football Clubs Governed, Incorporated & Acquired In South Africa?

How Are Football Clubs Governed, Incorporated & Acquired In South Africa?
Thursday, 08 December 2022 By Shane Wafer, Nicholas Flowers

South Africa is a country whose name is synonymous with football; and that existed long before the now-iconic Waka Waka. A cursory look at the country’s football history confirms as much. The “rainbow nation” is home to one of Africa’s oldest clubs[1] and the site of Africa’s first (and, to date, only) FIFA men’s World Cup[2]. Financially, they are no slouches either boasting the continent’s wealthiest league[3] and three of Africa’s wealthiest clubs[4].

Despite a strong financial position and with over 500k registered players at their disposal, South African clubs have surprisingly failed to achieve major success outside the country’s borders, at the continental level. In the CAF Champions League, Africa’s biggest club tournament, South African clubs have only managed to return two titles[5] since the inception of the tournament in 1964[6]. Tunisia and Egypt alone have returned as many as 23 titles between themselves; each having three different teams achieve success. There is no doubt South African football has yet to fully realise its true potential.

This article will examine the current system for regulation and governance of South African football clubs. Readers will learn the various requirements around the acquisition, operation, ownership and disposition of interests in a professional club team.

With reference to case studies, we will examine the recent trend within the industry to buy and sell football clubs within short periods of time, which we argue may potentially affect the long-term sustainability of South African football.

The article discusses the following:

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Written by

Shane Wafer

Shane Wafer

Shane is a sports lawyer and Partner at Javelin Sports Consulting, Pretoria.
He completed his undergraduate degree LL.B (Hons) at the University of Pretoria. He is currently enrolled at NYU for postgraduate studies.

Nicholas Flowers

Nicholas Flowers

Nick is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, holding B.Com., B.Com. Hons. (Insurance & Risk Management), and LL.B. degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand. He also holds certificates in Sports Law (University of Pretoria & University of Cape Town), and Sports Management (University of Cape Town).

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