Johannesburg – If you thought the South African justice system was perplexing, where over 200 people can be charged with murder for unclear reasons and then have the same charges provisionally withdrawn a few hours later, you clearly have not heard of the Premier Soccer League’s disciplinary committee.
In recent months, the PSL’s DC has looked nothing short of a kangaroo court, coming up with rulings that could be described as laughable, and others bordering on pure lunacy.
Take the complaint of First Division side Dynamos against Carara Kicks and Bay United, for instance. Upon their relegation from the lower division, Dynamos protested that both Carara and Bay had used defaulters in some of their games, hence they had accumulated points illegitimately.
The PSL’s DC convened and, three months later, returned a verdict which seemed illogical: they merely fined Bay. Then, as Pat Malabela, the Dynamos owner, screamed “daylight robbery”, the DC came up with another judgment on the Carara case: not only would they fine the Free State side, they would also dock them points, condemning them to the lower tiers.
This came as a relief for Dynamos as Carara’s relegation meant the Limpopo team would live to fight another day in the First Division, but nothing could conceal the glaring inconsistencies regarding these cases.
Here are two teams found guilty of almost a similar offence – that of fielding improperly registered players – yet they returned different verdicts.
The PSL DC explained that “in the case of Bay United there was no (intention) to cheat, but (in that of) Carara there was possible fraud by one of their officials”. What this exactly means is unclear because, as with almost every case, this PSL kangaroo court masquerading as a DC hardly adequately explains itself.
Saying there was “possible fraud” should compel the PSL to lay criminal charges or even ban the said official – not merely dock points from a team and continue as if everything is normal. In any case, using the wording such as “possible fraud” means you have not proven the case beyond reasonable doubt, confirming my belief that we are dealing here with a kangaroo court rather than a tribunal tasked with enforcing discipline and compliance.
This column has previously highlighted these inconsistencies, as when we reported the absurdity of fining Lehlohonolo Majoro, the Kaizer Chiefs striker, R10 000 for taking off his shirt and displaying a message upon celebrating a goal. Already this season, I have cited one occasion where a player – a Platinum Stars player in their win over Moroka Swallows last month – took off a shirt and displayed a message while celebrating. Not surprisingly, we have yet to hear anything from the kangaroo court that so needlessly hauled Majoro before it, when he had – like the said Platinum Stars player – already been punished with a yellow card.
Recent cases of unruly behaviour by fans, specifically those of Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, further illustrate the inefficacy of the PSL DC. How many times have these teams been fined for similar offences? Pirates have, since May 2011, appeared before the DC no fewer than four times for the same offence.
Sundowns, too, have for years caused anarchy at Lucas Moripe Stadium, forcing several of their coaches to leave the venue on the back of a police Nyala. They, too, were heavily fined, but nothing stopped them from besieging Johan Neeskens, the club’s coach, following a defeat to Maritzburg United last week. How the PSL did not anticipate this trouble is beyond me, because Sundowns had lost two successive games heading into this match.
Of course crowd control cannot merely be the responsibility of the league, but it is about time that its DC woke up and realised that imposing a fine on the club is absolutely futile. Fan bans and even docking of points are measures used worldwide for trouble-makers, and this should be the way to go. But because it is no more than a kangaroo court which applies rules selectively and confusingly, the PSL’s DC is unlikely to take such drastic action. – Saturday Star