Oh what a sour pickle the PSL finds itself sucking on


Oh what a sour pickle the PSL finds itself sucking on

Legal mess over Tendai Ndoro leaves little chance of the new local soccer season starting on time

Nick Said

It is virtually impossible for the new Absa Premiership season to start on time if the Premier Soccer League (PSL) follow through on their intention to appeal the judgment they lost in the South Gauteng High Court last week.
That is because the earliest that their challenge can be heard is July 30, with the court in recess until then, and even that is only the start of the process.
The league is scheduled to start on August 3, but in its current 16-team format, that would seem to be highly unlikely.
Ajax have in any event placed their intention to interdict the start of the league should the PSL move ahead with their motion because they will feel prejudiced by not knowing in which division they are in the days before the season starts.Judge Denise Fisher ruled last week that only Fifa could hear the case involving the eligibility of Zimbabwe international striker Tendai Ndoro for Ajax Cape Town last season, setting aside an arbitration ruling by Advocate William Mokhari that effectively relegated Ajax to the National First Division.
The league have stated that they intend to challenge Fisher’s decision, which they will discuss at their Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, though we understand they have already filed papers to do so last Friday.
The league must now petition Fisher and persuade her that the judgment was wrong, and that another judge would come to a different conclusion – after which she will either give them the leave to appeal or not.
But unless the league goes a different route, they can first petition Fisher only on July 30. If she grants them leave to appeal it could be weeks, at the very least, before her ruling is either endorsed or overturned.If it is overturned then Ajax are likely to head to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, which would further delay the start of the new season.
But with two High Court judges having now ruled in Ajax’s favour in the matter, the league might be hard-pressed to persuade a third that Safa’s arbitration ruling was the correct forum to discipline Ajax.
With Fisher stating that only Fifa can rule on the matter, Ajax argue that they cannot be handed down a punishment when they have not yet been found guilty of wrongdoing in the proper forum.
It is also now becoming ever clearer that the playoffs that were won by Black Leopards at the end of last season cannot be replayed, which narrows the PSL’s options in terms of what to do next.This is because it would almost certain see a challenge mounted by Leopards in the courts, which equals more delays, while the squads of the three teams are now considerably different since July 1 and the start of the new transfer window.
There is also the matter of the time it would take – probably around three weeks from start to finish.
If the PSL have any hope of starting the league on time this season, or close to it, their only option now is to agree to expand it to include Ajax, Leopards and probably Jomo Cosmos.
But that has a massive cost implication in terms of monthly grants, additional fixtures and workload in an already full football calendar, while the league would also need buy-in from the likes of Telkom and Nedbank, which run two of their knockout competitions.

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