Zifa dis­miss PSL ap­peal

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Pet­ros Kausiyo

ZIFA have hit back at threats by the Premier Soccer League to take their stand-off over rel­e­ga­tion and pro­mo­tion to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport with the Association dis­miss­ing the move as “an emo­tional act that lacks merit.’’

The PSL and their mem­ber clubs, through their lawyers Cogh­lan, Welsh and Guest gave Zifa no­ti­fi­ca­tion that they were lodg­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for ar­bi­tra­tion through the Swiss-based court to seek rem­edy over their dead­lock.

Zifa, how­ever, hit back yes­ter­day and ac­cused the spokesper­son of the PSL emer­gency com­mit­tee Lewis Uriri of grand­stand­ing.

The clubs are seek­ing to have the res­o­lu­tion of the Zifa Congress of Oc­to­ber 29 de­clared a nul­lity be­cause of pro­ce­dural flaws re­lated to con­sti­tu­tional vi­o­la­tions.

But Zifa, though the chair­man of their con­sti­tu­tional re­view com­mit­tee Itai Ndudzo, laughed off the threats of the PSL’s CAS ap­pli­ca­tion and ar­gued that the top-flight clubs ought to have ex­hausted do­mes­tic chan­nels for con­flict res­o­lu­tion be­fore turn­ing to the in­ter­na­tional body.

Ndudzo also reck­oned that the league’s ap­pli­ca­tion would not be en­ter­tained by CAS as Zifa had not con­sented to the mat­ter be­ing re­ferred for ar­bi­tra­tion when the PSL, through their chair­man Peter Dube, wrote to them giv­ing their no­ti­fi­ca­tion to ap­peal.

“The way we are look­ing at it is that the noise be­ing made is noth­ing but non­sen­si­cal grand­stand­ing with­out an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the el­e­men­tary pro­vi­sions of the Zifa constitution,” Ndudzo, who is also a lawyer, said.

“Ar­ti­cle 59 (of the Zifa constitution) is very clear that any dis­pute is to be re­solved us­ing the do­mes­tic reme­dies that are avail­able." Ar­ti­cle 59 of the Zifa constitution states that: “Zifa shall create an Ar­bi­tra­tion Tri­bunal, which shall deal with all in­ter­nal na­tional dis­putes be­tween Zifa, its Mem­bers, Play­ers, Of­fi­cials and match and play­ers’ agents that do not fall un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of its ju­di­cial bod­ies. The Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee shall draw up spe­cial reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing the com­po­si­tion, ju­ris­dic­tion and pro­ce­dural rules of this Ar­bi­tra­tion Tri­bunal.

“As long as within Zifa no na­tional independent Ar­bi­tra­tion Tri­bunal has been duly con­sti­tuted and recog­nised un­der the rules and reg­u­la­tions of Zifa, any dis­pute of na­tional di­men­sion be­tween Zifa, its Mem­bers, Clubs, Play­ers, Of­fi­cials and match and play­ers’ agents that do not fall un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of its ju­di­cial bod­ies may only be re­ferred in the last in­stance to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS) in Lau­sanne, Switzer­land. CAS will set­tle the dis­pute to the ex­clu­sion of any or­di­nary court un­less ex­pressly pro­hib­ited by the leg­is­la­tion in force in Zim­babwe’’.

It is Ndudzo’s ar­gu­ment that the mat­ter, which the PSL is bas­ing their ap­pli­ca­tion to CAS, is not a dis­pute as the clubs had par­tic­i­pated but lost in a vote dur­ing the Zifa Congress of Oc­to­ber 29 in Harare.

“If a vote is taken at Congress and if one loses it’s not a dis­pute but a loss,” said Ndudzo.

“Even if one is not happy with the out­come, it does not con­sti­tute a dis­pute be­cause you are not dis­put­ing the thresh­old, you are not con­test­ing the au­then­tic­ity of the par­ties that took part in the vote so one can see that this is just an emo­tional re­ac­tion that has no ba­sis."

He also warned the top clubs “against be­ing mis­led by peo­ple with self­ish agen­das’’ and noted that for CAS to pre­side over an ap­pli­ca­tion for ar­bi­tra­tion the war­ring par­ties needed to have agreed to the ar­bi­tra­tion.

Ndudzo cited a part of the CAS code which states that:

“The dis­putes to which a fed­er­a­tion, association or other sports-re­lated body is a party are a mat­ter for ar­bi­tra­tion pur­suant to this Code, only in­so­far as the statutes or reg­u­la­tions of the bod­ies or a spe­cific agree­ment so pro­vide…."

Ndudzo said the key part was that the PSL clubs voted and lost.

“CAS deals with dis­putes where one party ap­proaches the other and they sign an agree­ment to take their dis­pute for ar­bi­tra­tion,” said Ndudzo.

“If the statute ex­pressly pro­vides for di­rect ap­pli­ca­tion to CAS for ar­bi­tra­tion then one can do so but our statutes ex­pressly pro­vide for do­mes­tic reme­dies to be ex­hausted first and the clubs as mem­bers of Zifa voted and lost on the is­sue of rel­e­ga­tion.

“As far as Zifa is con­cerned there is no dis­pute that ex­ists and the Congress po­si­tion of 29 Oc­to­ber stands. If a mem­ber is un­happy with a congress de­ci­sion the mem­ber would have to wait to the next meet­ing or cause for the hold­ing of an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing.

“Al­though Zifa have an ar­bi­tra­tor, Ad­vo­cate Isaiah Mureriwa, whose ap­point­ment is a con­sti­tu­tional mat­ter, there has been no case that has been brought be­fore him as there is no dis­pute to talk about.”

Mean­while, Zifa pres­i­dent Philip Chiyangwa’s meet­ing with club share­hold­ers, which had been sched­uled for Harare yes­ter­day, was post­poned with the Association’ boss in­di­cat­ing the ind­aba had been moved to next week to al­low for more time for con­sul­ta­tions be­tween the con­cerned par­ties.

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