Coach suspended over 'pay to play' allegation

Platinum Stars
Platinum Stars pose for a team photo before a South Africa Premier League match

South African premier league club Platinum Stars have suspended coach Owen da Gama over allegations he demanded payments from players to pick them for the team.

The club ordered an independent inquiry and asked Da Gama to stand aside while the investigation is conducted.

"Platinum Stars would like to announce that following troubling allegations in the media surrounding the head coach, Owen da Gama, the club felt that it has become necessary to conduct a formal investigation into the matter," the club said in a statement.

"An independent team will be appointed to look into the issues and will call upon witnesses, including Da Gama himself, to provide information that will assist in making recommendations to the board."

Last month unidentified players alleged in a newspaper that they had to "pay to play" but Da Gama denied the accusations.

The club said Da Gama had taken legal action against Johannesburg's Sunday World newspaper.

The struggling club are owned by the Bafokeng tribe and based in Rustenburg.

They are headquartered at the same complex where England stayed during the 2010 World Cup.

Da Gama is in his second spell as coach of the club. He won the League Cup with Stars in 2006.

South African-born Da Gama played at Derry City in the League of Ireland and at Germinal Beerschot in Belgium during his playing days.