Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa keeps a close eye on Royal AM saga as it unfolds

22 July 2021 - 11:53
By mahlatse mphahlele AND Mahlatse Mphahlele
Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Image: Veli Nhlapo Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa.

As Royal AM continue their protracted promotion and relegation battle in the courts against the Premier Soccer League (PSL)‚ sports minister Nathi Mthethwa says his department will only get involved in the saga as the last resort.

The KwaZulu-Natal club owned by the flamboyant businesswoman Shauwn Mkhize has taken the PSL to court, arguing that they must be promoted to the elite league as they have won automatic promotion.

Sekhukhune United were declared the winners of the GladAfrica Championship after a court ruling‚ and runners-up Royal AM, in protest, did not honour all four of their matches in the relegation and promotion play-offs.

They were charged by the PSL Disciplinary Committee (DC) and their case‚ which was supposed to have sat last weekend‚ was postponed to this coming Saturday after Royal AM asked for a postponement.

“The minister’s attitude is to allow sport administrators space to resolve sport problems on their own and only get involved as a last resort. With that said‚ he is in touch with the PSL leadership‚” said a statement from the sports ministry on behalf of the minister.

“The minister remains confident that as people on the ground‚ the relevant football authorities are not only aware of such situations but are also capable of addressing them.”

The minister was concerned that sport disputes are flooding court rolls. “It is obviously undesirable for sport disputes to flood the already full court rolls but as a democratic country‚ we subscribe to every individual's rights to use all available avenues to protect their interests‚” continued the statement on behalf of the minister.

The department also dismissed suggestions that domestic professional sportsmen and women should be prioritised for vaccinations.

“Government‚ through the department of health‚ has a specific rollout plan within which all categories of citizens‚ including sports men and women‚ are accommodated‚” concluded the statement.