Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The  SA Football Players Union (Safpu)  wants the government to review tax for footballers as one of the ways of addressing the serious financial challenges players face after they retire.

The harsh realities of life after football came to the fore after the recent death of Bafana Bafana star Phil “Chippa” Masinga. This prompted the SA Football Association (Safa) to convene a meeting with  interested parties at Safa House in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The meeting included representatives from the Gauteng provincial government‚ Safpu‚ the  SA Football Coaches Association and the SA Masters and Legends Football Association.

The argument was that footballers and sports stars should not be taxed at the same rate as other professionals because of the short timespan of their careers.

Also discussed were ideas for creating business and coaching opportunities for former players‚ retirement and pension funds‚ an SA football hall of fame and skills-sharing programmes.

“Government must show that they care about people who play sport, and rethink the tax system‚” said Safpu president Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe.

“We need to look at the NDP  [National Development Plan] because it does not say much about this issue of tax for footballers. 

“When players retire there is usually a crisis and we want this issue to be addressed immediately. If government tells us this has not been done before‚ our stance is that we want to be the first to introduce tax relief for footballers in the world.”

Safa president Danny Jordaan agreed t urgent discussions were needed with the government to find solutions.

“How is it that a banker‚ a teacher or any other professional is taxed the same as a footballer on the same salary, but they don’t have the same lifespan?” asked Jordaan.

“Footballers don’t have the same benefits such as car‚ housing‚ medical aid and other allowances. So‚ we must meet with government as soon as possible to address this issue. I don’t want this meeting to be another talkshop‚ but have meaningful outcomes. We need to organise ourselves.”

Among the speakers was former Bafana defender David Nyathi‚ who said former players are not valued in SA.

“Nobody respects former footballers because they say we know nothing about the game that we played and love dearly‚” he said. "That’s why you have a situation where Dwight Yorke and John Barnes are [TV] analysts here — it’s because nobody respects us‚” said Nyathi.

Former Bafana striker Hareaipha Marumo said tax relief is possible.  He suggested that players  receive a share of the gate takings.

A working group was formed to meet the sport and education departments and the Treasury.