Cape Town City and its owner, John Comitis, face the possibility of stiff sanction and even expulsion from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) over their shirt sponsorship with SportPesa.
A specially convened board of governors will meet on Thursday to decide whether to punish City for "defiance" of the organisation’s rules.
The 32 clubs of the top-flight and National First Division (NFD) will meet at a Johannesburg hotel to deliberate the issue of Comitis having signed up with sports betting company SportPesa as shirt sponsors in defiance of league directives and a seven-year-old resolution.
The board of governors could decide on either a fine‚ a suspension or expulsion in a matter that has pitted Comitis against the PSL’s all-powerful chairman, Irvin Khoza.
Comitis had been warned against doing a deal with the Bulgarian-owned betting company‚ which is also a sponsor of English Premier League club Everton and several teams in East Africa‚ where it does extensive business.
The league has no specific rules prohibiting sports betting companies as sponsors, but it does require clubs to seek permission first.
Comitis did not ask for permission and went ahead with signing the sponsorship deal. The team wore the firm’s logo on the club’s livery despite a warning from the PSL before City’s first match of the season in the MTN8 against Polokwane City in August.
City wore SportPesa’s logo on their shirt in their four subsequent matches and were expected to do so again in Wednesday night’s home match against Kaizer Chiefs.
Consequently‚ the league has thrown the book at Comitis and evoked its Rule 9.16.
This gives the PSL the power "to suspend‚ fine‚ terminate the membership of or otherwise sanction or deal with any member club‚ member club official‚ player or individual falling under the jurisdiction of the League for infringing the National Soccer League handbook or for engaging in acts of misconduct‚ improper practices‚ acts of defiance‚ or for bringing the League into disrepute".
All clubs have a vote in the matter, with 10 votes for the PSL teams and two each for the NFD sides.