Ajax Cape Town accept their fate in Ndorogate

27 July 2018 - 12:49 By Mark Gleeson And Nick Said
Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathiou maintains that the club never violated any PSL rules.
Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathiou maintains that the club never violated any PSL rules.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Ajax Cape Town have accepted they will take their place in the National First Division for the start of the new 2018-19 season.

Ajax on Thursday withdrew their bid to interdict the start of the campaign‚ having also unsuccessfully tried to oppose the Premier Soccer League’s request for leave to appeal the ruling of Judge Denise Fisher that temporarily reinstated the club in the top-flight.

“We are forced to take our place in NFD unless something happens‚ which we are not expecting‚” Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou told a press conference in Cape Town on Friday.

“The appeal process can take anything from 4 to 12 weeks and with the league starting on Saturday next week it put us in a difficult spot. But if we are successful‚ which we think we will be‚ what then?”

Efstathiou maintains that the club never violated any PSL rules by fielding Zimbabwe striker Tendai Ndoro last season‚ despite the fact that they were his third club of the campaign‚ in contravention of Fifa regulations.

This is because they had a mandate to do so from the PSL’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and when later ordered to stop using the forward‚ they did.

“We did fight for the truth and for what we believe was right. Unfortunately‚ the ball did not roll our way‚” he said.

“Unfortunately‚ once again, time and legal procedure has trumped justice and we feel very strongly about that. We still believe we have done everything in our power to follow the league’s rules. We never did anything outside the parameters of the rules.”

Advocate Norman Arendse‚ who represented Ajax in court‚ says the decision to withdraw the interdict was made because they felt it had little chance of success.

“When Fisher allowed the appeal against her judgement‚ that immediately affected our chances of the interdict. We would have had little chance‚” Arendse said.

“The interdict was designed to have playoffs replayed‚ but was always going to be a difficult ask.

“If we argued a losing case we could have had a harsh costs ordered against us. In light of that‚ Ari took difficult and emotional decision‚ but the right one‚ to withdraw.”

The PSL were granted leave to appeal the judgement of Fisher‚ who set aside an arbitration award by Advocate William Mokhari that essentially relegated Ajax last season by stripping them of points gained in matches against Platinum Stars‚ SuperSport United and Polokwane City‚ and awarded points to their opponents.

This saw Ajax slip from the relegation playoff position in the league to automatic relegation‚ but Fisher ruled that Mokhari was not the correct forum to hear the case and that the Fifa Players’ Status Committee must adjudicate.

The PSL will appeal that decision‚ saying she erred and that another judge would disagree.