PSL criticises arbitrator's ruling in Sekhukhune case

21 May 2021 - 16:12 By Marc Strydom
Sekhukhune United players showing the new kit at Malonjeni Guest Farm on November 5 2020 in Johannesburg.
Sekhukhune United players showing the new kit at Malonjeni Guest Farm on November 5 2020 in Johannesburg.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has criticised the arbitration decision that saw Sekhukhune United awarded three points this week‚ which has propelled them into a favourable position to win the GladAfrica Championship.

In an unusual occurrence‚ the PSL called an executive committee (exco) meeting on Thursday to discuss the arbitration outcome that has thrown the GladAfrica (National First Division‚ or NFD) race into a nail-biting split in Sunday’s final day. On Friday the league released a statement criticising the arbitrator’s decision.

The PSL’s statement read: “On May 19 2021‚ a ruling was handed down in the arbitration between Sekhukhune United Football Club and Polokwane City Football Club.

“The arbitration ruling has created uncertainty in relation to the discretion afforded to the PSL disciplinary committee to determine an appropriate sanction for acts of misconduct in each case.

“It has always been the position that the PSL disciplinary committee is required to consider the range of sanctions available for acts of misconduct and then exercise a discretion as to what the appropriate sanction should be in each case.

“An urgent special meeting of the executive committee of the PSL was convened to consider the matter. It is the view of the league that it is not correct‚ as the arbitration ruling holds that the PSL disciplinary code is silent and that the disciplinary committee had to impose a mandatory sanction under the Fifa disciplinary code.

“The Fifa disciplinary code may only be reverted to when the PSL handbook is silent on an issue. In this particular case‚ the PSL handbook is not silent and provides the disciplinary committee with the discretion to consider a range of sanctions.

“The PSL is aware of the confusion that has been created as a result of the arbitration award. The PSL is in the process of considering several options and has been in communication with all member clubs in this regard.

“We confirm that the final matches taking place this weekend will proceed as planned.”

Durban side Royal AM were sitting pretty with a three-point gap‚ needing a point at home to Cape Town All Stars at Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday to clinch the NFD and promotion to the Premiership.

On Wednesday an arbitrator ruled in favour of Sekhukhune in a dispute involving Polokwane City‚ awarding the Tembisa team three points. This will bump Sekhukhune up to the lead of the NFD‚ level on 50 points with Royal but with a superior goal difference.

The matter stems from a 1-0 defeat Sekhukhune suffered against Polokwane in January. The Tembisa club protested that City had not fielded five under-23 players‚ as per NFD rules.

A PSL disciplinary committee removed three points but did not award any to Sekhukhune‚ as it had done in some previous cases. An SA Football Association (Safa) arbitration on Wednesday did award three points to Sekhukhune.

The NFD log on the PSL’s official website had not been updated by late Friday afternoon‚ and still had Royal on top on 50 points and Sekhukhune second on 47.