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PSL denies sponsor influence behind friendly decision

South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) has denied reports that sponsors Nedbank and Absa were involved in the decision to prevent Ajax Cape Town from playing English Premier League club Liverpool in a friendly later this month.
The two teams had initially planned to play each other on May 21, but Reuters reported that the PSL had refused permission for the game to take place due to concerns that it would divert attention away from the conclusion of the South African domestic schedule.
The final round of domestic league matches will take place on May 18, and the South African cup final will be staged on May 25. Absa is the title sponsor of the league competition while Nedbank supports the cup tournament.
On Thursday, the league’s general manager Derek Blankensee said that the cup final was “the biggest game of the season for our sponsor and we want them to get the exposure they deserve.”
However, on Friday, the league said: “The Premier Soccer League is putting it on record that its sponsors Nedbank and Absa had no hand in the decision by the PSL to disallow permission for the Ajax Cape Town and Liverpool match to be held on May 21 as requested. The management of the PSL disallowed the permission for the match to be held on 21 May 2013 as this date occurred before the completion of the PSL season. The decision was not arrived at easily as the playing of Liverpool by Ajax was in all other respects good for the PSL and football in South Africa. This is because of the stature of Liverpool and the support it commands in our country and worldwide.”