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Another Court Case To Throw PSL In Disarray?

By Velile Mnyandu (@Velile_Mnyandu)

Another GladAfrica Championship team is taking the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to the High Court, this time Cape Umoya United has confirmed that they are taking on review the arbitration award of Advocate William Mokhari SC, which was handed down on May 15.

The arbitration award related to the contravention of rule 15.2 of the National Soccer League handbook after United had failed to honour a fixture against Cape Town Spurs on January 3 and they cited the Covid-19 cases as one of their main reasons. 

With the PSL still grappling with the controversy surrounding the direct promotion of either Sekhukhune United or Royal AM to the Premier division as they have delayed handing over the trophy and declaring champions for that division due to the controversial case that involves Sekhukhune United and Polokwane City.

In a recent arbitration ruling, Advocate Hilton Epstein SC, ruled that the Sekhukhune be awarded the three points and three goals after Polokwane City were found guilty by the PSL DC for having contravened rule 35.2 of the NSL handbook. 

Rule 35.2. of the National Soccer League (NSL) handbook is very clear, clubs participating in the National First Division must include in the team sheet for every match a minimum of five (5) players who are both u23 and eligible to represent South Africa. A minimum of two U23 players must be on the field of play at all times during a match.

Polokwane has since taken the matter to court and are taking the arbitration award on review and also want it to be set aside. The PSL together with Royal AM are also joining in as co-applications on this matter, according to the court papers filed this week. 

Meanwhile, when Umoya tried to argue their case during the DC, they were told that the PSL Exco had taken a resolution last year that the positive Covid-19 cases cannot be put forward as the main reasons for the postponement of a game. Interestingly, Polokwane City had also tried to use the excuse of Covid-19 as a reason for not having an adequate number of U23 players on their team sheet. 

Rule 15.2 states that, “where a match is not played because of the late or non-arrival of a Member Club team, or of both teams, the offending Member Club or Member Clubs will be charged with misconduct” 

And rule 15.3. further goes on to say, “where a Member Club is found guilty in terms of Rule 15.2 its opponent in that match will receive a “walk-over” (a 3-0 [three-nil] win), unless the Disciplinary Committee considers that a different sanction may be more appropriate.”

After having been found guilty by the PSL DC, Spurs received a walkover and it came in handy for them as they were involved in a relegation battle with neighbours Steenberg United who ended up being relegated alongside Bizana Pondo Chiefs after finishing on the 15th spot on the log, just three points behind Spurs. 

Umoya had taken the case on appeal and it was sent directly to arbitration and the matter was adjudicated by Advocate William Mokhari SC, who upheld the decision of the PSL DC, meaning that Umoya lost the the appeal and Spurs would keep their points. 

The PSL relegation and promotion play-offs pitting the number two and three from the National First Division against the number 15 from the top league, were scheduled to start on 6 June but following the latest cases the PSL was targeting 13 June as they aim to finish before 30 June when contracts with players would be coming to an end. 

But with the latest developments and two cases in court dealing with the promotion and possibly the relegation in the NFD, the whole programme is turning into a mess and also damage the image of the game in the process. 

iDiski Times has also picked up that more teams could be joining these two cases with TS Sporting most likely to come in and support Sekhukhune, according to the correspondence we have has seen. 

And there are no guarantees that all these cases will be wrapped up before the end of June, throwing the plans for the new 2021/2022 season into disarray.