PSL sweating on its court appeal against Tendai Ndoro ruling
● Delaying the start of the 2018/2019 season, even by a single day, will cause irreparable damage to a season which threatens to have one of the most congested fixture lists in the history of the Premier Soccer League.
The reality of that could well be the reason PSL chairman Irvin Khoza looked so drained and stressed this week while he was clarifying the league’s next move on the Tendai Ndoro saga, which threatens the start of the league in 14 days’ time.
On top of Khoza’s mind was the need to assure all the league’s stakeholders, especially the sponsors, that play will start as scheduled on August 4.
So far the sponsors have not come out to voice their opinion on the shenanigans at the PSL, but Khoza didn’t miss a chance to assure them of their decisions this week.
“We’ve got a responsibility towards our sponsors and stakeholders. If we don’t give them certainty they can divert their investment,” said Khoza.
“We must remember that Caf (the Confederation of African Football) have congested fixtures of their own as they are going into a new cycle in their club competitions and there’s Afcon coming up (in June).
“So there are so many things that are competing.
“That is why we better deal with this matter decisively.
“Leadership dictates that we must act, provide leadership and certainty because if we don’t, we can’t plan.
“The sponsors must plan and they are not waiting for our whims and emotions.”
Khoza said they would fight the Ndoro challenge on two fronts.
Firstly, the PSL filed papers to appeal against Judge Denise Fisher’s ruling which set aside Advocate William Mokhari’s decision which relegated Ajax to the National First Division after they were docked points for fielding their former striker Ndoro during the past season.
“We need to start at the court first because it is also how it hamstrung us (PSL) in so far as taking decisions on matters affecting the league on a daily basis,” said Khoza.
“If we go with this (Fisher’s) judgment it doesn’t help us going into the future in terms of the interpretation. That’s why we want to clarify the interpretation so we know what we can do and what we can’t do with the judgment on the table.”
According to Khoza, the PSL also intends going to the Fifa Player Status Committee, through Safa, if their appeal is not successful or not speedily dealt with in SA courts.
“Whatever happens the games will be starting on August 4,” said Khoza.
When asked about those who might challenge their decision to start the season with the Ndoro matter not yet finalised, he said: “The laws of ifs have never been won, so we’ll wait for it (challenge) at the appropriate time. But for now we are going ahead.”
Ahead the of PSL’s Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou had threatened to derail the start of the season if the PSL went ahead with their appeal and start the league as scheduled.
Ajax had interpreted Judge Fisher’s decision as meaning they are back in the 15th position of the PSL log and they therefore qualify to contest the relegation/promotion playoffs.
But since Khoza’s pronouncement that the league will start as scheduled, Efstathiou has been mum about his club’s next move.
There were talks also this week of Ajax possibly buying the cash-strapped Bloemfontein Celtic’s status in order to remain in the PSL, but Efstathiou quashed that, saying the rules of the PSL wouldn’t allow them to do that even if they wanted to.
It emerged later in the week that Celtic might actually go back to their previous owners, the Augosti brothers, Jimmy and Ikie.
The Augostis sold Phunya Sele Sele to the current owner, Max Tshabalala, for about R50-million four years ago.
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza.