Chippa United could lose playoffs spot

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The already lengthy promotion-relegation playoffs for Premiership status are set to drag on even longer due to Wednesday postponement of Sunday’s match between National First Division sides Chippa United and Thanda Royal Zulu.

Premiership outfit Santos won the first match of the round-robin-style playoffs when they weathered a second-half storm to beat hosts Thanda Royal Zulu 1-0 at the Richards Bay Sports Complex.

But the Premier Soccer League (PSL) announced straight after the game that Sunday’s match has been postponed because it has received a complaint from Blackburn Rovers regarding “players who are allegedly improperly registered” by Chippa.

“The matter will be dealt with as speedily as possible, but, in order to ensure that the tournament is not compromised by this process, the (PSL) has postponed Sunday’s fixture between Chippa United and Thanda Royal Zulu,” its statement said.

“As soon as the matter is resolved, the fixtures will resume and will be played in the same order as defined in the rules. New dates and times for matches will be issued as soon as possible.”

Blackburn just missed out on the playoffs after going down 1-0 to Bay United in East London on the last day of the season, giving Thanda a chance to sneak into the end-of-season lottery with their 1-0 win over champions University of Pretoria.

However, if their case against Chippa is successful, East London-based Blackburn could end up replacing the Cape side in the playoffs.

The playoffs are scheduled to be completed on June 23, basically two weeks before the start of the new season. And although the PSL has committed itself to resolving the matter “speedily”, the issue might have a big impact on the participating teams’ preparations for next season.

Santos claimed a crucial away win yesterday, but they will need to perform much better if they are to make sure that they remain in the top flight for the 2012-13 season. – Cape Times


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