In, out, up, down, who knows? The PSL has messed up badly
The Tendai Ndoro eligibility fiasco has given the image of the local soccer body a massive knock
The bright sparks at Premier Soccer League (PSL) headquarters in Parktown are going to try all the tricks in the book to put a positive spin on the embarrassing Tendai Ndoro eligibility fiasco that is threatening the start of the coming domestic season.
The undeniable truth is that this saga, which has dragged on for about seven months, has turned into a full-blown crisis and it has left leaders of professional football in South Africa with considerable egg on their faces.
In less than a month, August 3 to be exact, no one knows whether the season will start on time after Ajax Cape Town were restored to 15th position on the log following this week’s successful bid to set aside the ruling by arbiter Advocate William Mokhari.
The tables were turned on Monday when Judge Denise Fisher ruled in favour of the Urban Warriors and referred the matter back to Fifa’s Player Status Committee as the only body with jurisdiction to rule on the matter.As a result of this utter mess, it is anyone’s guess when the matter will be heard by Fifa and what the outcome is going to be. If Fifa stays with Judge Fisher’s decision, it means the league would have to replay the playoffs, a path that would be vulnerable to a legal challenge by winners Black Leopards.
We have heard that the PSL could expand the league to 18 teams next season, but even that could be open to a court challenge. If the PSL expands the league and includes Ajax and Platinum Stars, who have been renamed Cape Umoya United, then Jomo Cosmos, who lost in the playoffs, are more than likely to also challenge that decision.
We are at this crossroads because Ajax and the PSL officials went ahead with an issue that should not have gone this far in the first place if the rules had been interpreted correctly before Ndoro kicked a ball for Urban Warriors.
If the people working at the registrations offices at the club and the league knew what they were doing, Ndoro would not have been allowed to play for Ajax last season.
The Cape side was his third club in the same season and a contravention of the Safa and Fifa rules. Yes, Ajax were well within their rights to sign Ndoro in January but he should have only started playing in August as per the Fifa rules.Ndoro was erroneously signed by Ajax and registered by the PSL – and when everyone woke up from their slumber, there were further complications as the league’s own dispute resolution chamber ruled that the Zimbabwean international could continue to play until the matter was put to bed.
Ajax’s reinstatement to the PSL has rearranged the log standings with AmaZulu back in the top eight. This adds further complications as Judge Fisher’s ruling means that the relegation play-offs that were won by Black Leopards are now null and void, and no one knows what is going to be the way forward.
This is a self-inflicted mess by the league, who were misled by their own dispute resolution chamber, and Ajax, who in their infinite wisdom continued to take a risk by playing a player whose registration was in serious dispute.The response from the PSL after the ruling by Judge Fisher was a vague 128-word statement that said they have noted the judgment and appropriate steps will be taken in due course after consultation with their advisers.
This is the same PSL that has had an acting chief executive in the form of Mato Madlala for almost three years.
This is the same PSL that took more than a year to punish Orlando Pirates after their fans ran onto the field and damaged equipment during their league match against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, it is clear that the domestic league’s image has taken a massive knock. A marketing strategy that has leaned heavily on trying to sell the PSL as one of the most professional entities in the world has been blown to smithereens.