South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) will have to search for a new sponsor for the next season following an announcement that Absa Group will be ending its sponsorship of the Absa Premiership when the contract expires at the end of the current season.
Absa has been the sponsor of the South African Premier Division since 2007 while its overall relationship with South African football has existed since 2004.
The news came as a surprise to many as just in August 2017, the pair signed a new five-year deal worth R500 million.
In a statement, Absa thanked the PSL, the administrator of South Africa’s top football league, and the football community for a fruitful partnership and support over the years.
“We have enjoyed a long, fruitful relationship with the PSL and have supported the PSL’s work in South African football and sports development. While we will no longer be the anchor sponsor for the PSL, soccer will always remain close to our hearts. We are therefore exploring alternative options to continue our relationship with the PSL, Absa Group CEO Daniel Mminele said.
PSL Chairman Dr. Irvin Khoza said that the 13-year period of Absa’s involvement will always be fondly remembered by football fans.
“The Absa Premiership era will forever be a reference point for football glory, both in term of club development and player performance in our sports history. The PSL is grateful to Absa for strengthening the league to true professionalism,” Khoza said.
According to Absa’s head of sponsorships Mtunzi Jonas, who spoke to local radio station SA FM, the specific reasons of why the partnership with the PSL was ended should not be the primary focus at the moment.
Mtunzi said that while decisions in the interest of Absa had to be made, the Group was proud of its contribution to South African football.
“As Absa, we can confidently say that the Premiership is in a good and better position than when we started with the PSL in 2004 when we sponsored the Absa Cup,” he said.
“Our partnership comes to end with a lot of pride and some people have described our involvement as the golden era.”