The Free State Provincial Government have stated that they are committed to keeping local PSL team Bloemfontein Celtic in the Free State, as they fight tooth and nail to survive the debt crisis currently engulfing the club.
Celtic fans have been left with an uneasy feeling over the past few months after owner Max Tshabalala put his club up for sale. However, a legal wrangle with SARS has prevented any potential sales from taking place.
Siwelele face uncertain future
It’s had a devastating effect on Celtic’s finances, and they’ve already asked the provincial government to help out – The Director-General of the Free State Kopung Ralikontsane confirmed that their main concern at the moment is keeping the team at their home in Bloemfontein, as three potential buyers have been lined up.
“We are working hard to ensure that the club remains in Bloemfontein. To that end, we have already given the club R1.2 million of the agreed R2.5 million to play their home games in Bloemfontein, to avoid a situation where supporters would incur travelling and other costs to watch their favourite team.”
“Bloemfontein Celtic Football Club is a privately owned business in the hands of Mr. Max Tshabalala. Government cannot spend money meant to improve the living conditions of the poor to help privately owned businesses.”
There is a limit to how far we can go in assisting the football club. Our wish is to remain in Bloemfontein as it greatly contributes to the economy of Mangaung and the Free State in general.”
Could Bloemfontein Celtic soon be playing in Port Elizabeth?
The government have gone public in their response after Siwelele fans delivered a memorandum to the office of Premier Sonia Ntombela six weeks ago. It looks as if the club will stay in Bloem for the foreseeable future, but the spectre of a move still looms large over Celtic.
Port Elizabeth has been touted as a potential new location where the club could end up playing their home games, in order to alleviate the cash crisis. Using the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium alongside Chippa United, fans would face a round-trip of 13 hours by road, clocking up 1300km in the process: A nightmare no soccer fan should face.