South African Football Players Union (Safpu) has condemned the imminent implementation of the Caf Super League, terming it an unworkable and ill-conceived idea.
Caf has already laid down the roadmap for the implementation of the league, which is expected to start in August 2023. After the approval from the executive committee, the Super League is expected to be launched in August 2022 in Tanzania, as announced by President Patrice Motsepe.
"The Confederation of African Football thinks it a clever idea to attempt to ride roughshod over these achievements to benefit very few while leaving wreckage in its wake through the Super League," Safpu’s statement, signed by its president, Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe, read.
"There is no evidence that an African Super League will benefit soccer in Africa unless it benefits the very few and while diluting the value of the professional leagues considered beneficial.
"The only way we can improve soccer on our continent and create and protect employment opportunities is by improving professionalism, insisting on better governance, and guaranteeing legal compliance."
Arguing that the idea puts the welfare of players at risk, the union said it would make sure the proposals are scrutinized.
"Safpu is determined to ensure that Caf’s proposals are fully scrutinised, and if necessary, to take whatever steps may be necessary to protect the rights of its members from serious and immediate risk," it added.
"Let’s take, for example, the very [un]super idea of taking from the many to give [even more] to the already privileged few."
Safpu further questioned the methodology that will be used to select the participants in the inaugural Super League next year.
"At this point, though, Caf has not disclosed the clubs that will participate in the Super League, how they will qualify [if there is to be any qualification, other than by invitation], and has not bothered to consider the impact of such a decision on professional leagues in Africa," the statement continued.
"There has been no engagement with affected leagues and clubs other than perhaps in secret with the chosen few."
In addition to questioning the manner in which the teams will be selected, Safpu wants all the stakeholders to be involved first.
"From a South African perspective, the minimum requirements would be the disclosure of detailed research findings on the impacts of an African Super League; a fair process of engagement, including opportunities to make representations," the union recommended.
"A fair process would have to involve, at the very least, the NSL, Fifpro Africa, and Safpu. If a few professional clubs in South Africa are invited to join an African Super League – with respect, the consequences for our league, and those who are excluded, are pretty obvious.
"We need more professional clubs, more professional leagues, more professional players' unions. That is a future that will attract greater commercial support and improve levels of merit-based competition."
Safpu wants a united campaign against the Super League idea as they claim it is going to be destructive to African football.
"As South Africans, we cannot permit the destruction of professional football," it concluded.
"As Safpu, we do not accept that Caf can simply decide whatever it likes, fail to assess the consequences, and ignore those most affected.
"We trust South Africans and the rest of Africa will come out against this destructive idea, for we know it will ruin professional football.
"It can never be acceptable that decisions that will have devastating effects on professional soccer players in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent will be implemented without bothering to engage relevant stakeholders and or those on the receiving end."
According to Caf, the winners and participants of the inaugural African Super League will receive significant prize money, and the proceeds from the tournament will include substantial solidarity payments to all 54 member associations.