City and Celtic butt heads over coach

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

The con­tin­u­ing con­trac­tual dis­pute be­tween Polokwane City and Luc Ey­mael has pit­ted two Premier Soc­cer League clubs against each other, with Bloem­fontein Celtic now be­ing dragged into the mat­ter.

The two clubs are head­ing for a se­ri­ous clash over the ser­vices of the Bel­gian man­ager as City has de­manded that Celtic stop em­ploy­ing Ey­mael.

On Thurs­day, City sent a let­ter to Ey­mael’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Mandla Tsha­bal­ala, to in­struct his client to re­port to their of­fices in Polokwane, fail­ing which he would be in breach of the order handed down by the PSL’s dis­pute res­o­lu­tion cham­ber.

City’s ar­gu­ment is that the “award is fi­nal and bind­ing, and the sub­se­quent ap­peal should not sus­pend the op­er­a­tion of the order pend­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the ap­peal process”.

Ear­lier in the week, the dis­pute res­o­lu­tion cham­ber ruled that Ey­mael should go back to City, and “con­tinue serv­ing as head coach of the club on the terms and con­di­tions set out in the con­tract of em­ploy­ment”.

Ey­mael has since vowed not to set foot in Polokwane again.

He told Kick Off mag­a­zine that he was not pre­pared to go back to Lim­popo.

“This is un­fair. It’s in­hu­mane. It’s against the law. No one is obliged to go where they are not com­fort­able and where his life in dan­ger,” he said.

“I will not put my life in dan­ger and be un­com­fort­able at work. I have a fam­ily, two chil­dren and a grand­son. I can­not die in South Africa, I’d rather die in my own coun­try.

City boss Johnny Mo­gal­adi told City Press that the Lim­popo out­fit ex­pected Ey­mael to hon­our the order and re­turn to Polokwane.

“We feel vin­di­cated by the rul­ing as we have al­ways be­lieved we had a solid case. The coach still has a valid con­tract with us and we ex­pect him to abide by the rul­ing,” said Mo­gal­adi.

Tsha­bal­ala con­firmed re­ceiv­ing the let­ter from City, but said he was un­sure if the order meant Ey­mael should stop work­ing for Celtic.

“I know that if it’s the ap­peal process, the order stands and he can­not work,” said Tsha­bal­ala.

He said they had since chal­lenged the dis­pute res­o­lu­tion cham­ber’s verdict and were opt­ing to go straight for ar­bi­tra­tion to avoid the time­con­sum­ing process of ap­peal­ing be­fore­hand.

“We know that ar­bi­tra­tion rul­ing is fi­nal and bind­ing, hence we went for this op­tion,” he said.

He said he was sur­prised by the dis­pute res­o­lu­tion cham­ber’s rul­ing against his client.

“I find it surprising. How do you com­pel some­one to go to work when it is clear that he doesn’t want to? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Celtic chief ex­ec­u­tive Khum­bu­lani Konco said his club felt hard done by.

“We will have to wait for the out­come of ar­bi­tra­tion and take it from there,” he said.

Since join­ing Celtic last month, Ey­mael has been barred from sit­ting on the bench for Phunya Sele Sele’s matches be­cause he has not been of­fi­cially reg­is­tered as the man­ager of the Bloem­fontein club by the PSL.

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

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