PSL start still in legal limbo ahead of crucial meeting

12 July 2018 - 06:00 By Nick Said
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza chairs a meeting of the Leagues' executive committee at the PSL head offices in Parktown, north of Johannesburg on Thursday July 5 2018
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza chairs a meeting of the Leagues' executive committee at the PSL head offices in Parktown, north of Johannesburg on Thursday July 5 2018
Image: Mahlatse Mphahlele

Premier Soccer League (PSL) insiders are confident that the Absa Premiership will start on August 3 as scheduled - this as the organisation’s Board of Governors meets on Thursday to decide a way forward in their legal wrangling with Ajax Cape Town over the Tendai Ndoro affair.

The PSL must choose whether to challenge the ruling of Judge Denise Fisher that set aside Ajax’s automatic relegation from the Premiership and stated that only FIFA can adjudicate on the matter.

They are likely to press on with their challenge‚ which means petitioning Fisher to give them leave to appeal her judgement by suggesting she had erred and that another judge will reach a different conclusion.

The stinger for the league is that the South Gauteng High Court is in recess until July 30‚ which would be the earliest that the matter can be heard. This is just days before the scheduled start of the league.

Ajax have threatened to interdict the start of the campaign should the Board of Governors go ahead‚ but a PSL insider has told TimesLIVE they are confident the league will get under way on time.

“We must just go ahead with our programme and start the season‚” they said on condition of anonymity.

“We cannot wait for this matter to be sorted out through the courts because we have stakeholders who are dependent on the league getting under way.

“You have the sponsors of not just the Premiership‚ but also the MTN8. There are the broadcasters [SuperSport and SABC]‚ the players‚ the clubs. Everybody bar Ajax and maybe AmaZulu wants to see the season start‚ so that is what we must do.

“If a situation arises in the future where we need to accommodate Ajax then that is something that we must look at then and decided what to do.

“But the matter comes down to the simple fact of whether Ajax were allowed to play Ndoro and the answer to that‚ according to the FIFA‚ SAFA and PSL rules‚ is no they were not.”

TimesLIVE has been told from a number of sources with the PSL that expanding the league to 17 or 18 teams this season is not on the cards as the financial implications‚ as well as the extra workload for clubs and players‚ is too great.

If the PSL are not granted their leave to appeal Fisher’s ruling‚ then it leaves them in limbo needing to decide what to do next‚ with Black Leopards already having filled Ajax’s place in the Absa Premiership next season after winning the promotion/relegation playoffs.

Fisher set aside the arbitration ruling of Advocate William Mokhari‚ concluding not that he had erred in finding Ajax guilty of fielding Ndoro‚ but that the correct forum to hear the matter is FIFA’s Player Status Committee.

Mokhari had stripped Ajax of the points gained in wins over Platinum Stars and SuperSport United‚ as well as a draw with Polokwane City‚ last season and awarded the matches 3-0 to their opponents.

That relegated Ajax in bottom place in the league and pushed SuperSport into the top eight at the expense of AmaZulu. Ajax suggest that the ruling was unprecedented and too harsh.

Ajax are accused of fielding Zimbabwe international forward Ndoro‚ despite the fact that they were his third club of the season‚ in contravention with FIFA regulations‚ though they claim extenuating circumstances.

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