Ar­bi­tra­tion to blow the fi­nal whis­tle on City im­passe

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

The im­passe that has pit­ted Cape Town City against other Premier Soc­cer League (PSL) clubs is set for ar­bi­tra­tion.

The clubs are at odds with City over sign­ing a spon­sor­ship deal with a sports bet­ting com­pany, in de­fi­ance of league di­rec­tives.

Fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s board of governors meet­ing, the league de­cided to send the mat­ter di­rectly to ar­bi­tra­tion.

City Press has learnt that most of the clubs be­lieve City should be brought to book for con­tra­ven­ing and un­der­min­ing the rules.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­sider, City could be docked points or face fi­nan­cial sanc­tions if found guilty.

City will face the dis­ci­plinary steps over their shirt spon­sor­ship with Sport­Pesa, which was al­legedly not ap­proved by the league.

The Cape Town club un­veiled Sport­Pesa as their ti­tle spon­sor last month and wore the new branded jersey dur­ing their MTN8 quar­ter­fi­nal en­counter against Polok­wane City on Au­gust 12.

A club of­fi­cial who was present at Thurs­day’s meet­ing said they were not happy with City for ig­nor­ing the stand­ing mora­to­rium on bet­ting and gam­bling com­pa­nies.

A few weeks ago, the PSL board of governors de­cided to seek a le­gal opinion on the mat­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to a mem­ber, the opinion was not con­clu­sive, hence the mat­ter was re­ferred to the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee.

“In some areas, the coun­sel could not clearly es­tab­lish if there was a con­tra­ven­tion of the rules. Now we must pre­pare the charges, and the ar­bi­tra­tor will be able to hear both sides of the story and make an in­formed de­ci­sion.”

An­other mem­ber who was at the meet­ing said there was a brouhaha among club mem­bers ac­cus­ing City of un­der­min­ing the league’s rules.

The mem­ber said that, even though this was not doc­u­mented, there was an agree­ment that if a club was ap­proached by any bet­ting or gam­bling com­pany, they would ap­ply to the league for per­mis­sion to let it be a spon­sor.

The league al­ready turned down three clubs af­ter ap­proaches from bet­ting com­pa­nies.

“In­ter­est­ingly, John Comi­tis [City chair] was part of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing that turned down one of those ap­proaches,” said the source.

“The league must ap­prove every spon­sor that comes along, and this was not the case with City. The is­sue here is that all clubs can ben­e­fit from these kinds of ar­range­ments, like with the broad­cast­ing deal, in­stead of one or a few clubs, hence the chair [Irvin Khoza] was man­dated to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sue thor­oughly, look at dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties and re­port back. But be­fore he could give his feed­back, one club has al­ready ben­e­fited.”

PSL act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Mato Mad­lala said she could not com­ment on board mat­ters.

Comi­tis nei­ther an­swered calls nor re­spond to a text mes­sage.

PHOTO: PETRI OESCHGER / GALLO IM­AGES

IN HOT WA­TER Other PSL clubs are ap­par­ently un­happy about Cape Town City’s shirt spon­sor

PHOTO: FILE

UN­AVAIL­ABLE City chair John Comi­tis

PHOTO: JABULANI LANGA

MUM Act­ing PSL chief ex­ec­u­tive Mato Mad­lala

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