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City FC's latest outcry highlights the conundrum the PSL finds itself in

Cape Town City owner John Comitis

FILE - Cape Town City owner John Comitis. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Apr 18, 2022


Cape Town — Cape Town City FC's latest outcry highlights the conundrum the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is in because it is run by club owners rather than independent administrators.

It manifests the inherent conflict of interest and despite several warnings from media critics that the organization could implode, the PSL have stubbornly persisted with the status quo.

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At the heart of the stubbornness is the self-serving interests of PSL club owners who serve on the executive committee. Apart from self-serving interests, the executive members also enjoy lucrative commissions every year. According to a newspaper story a few years ago, these commissions are listed under the headline 'administration' in the PSL annual report. The commission are derived from TV and radio broadcasts for sponsorships.

Many years ago, when these commissions were made known the former Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel called payments of commissions to soccer officials “morally reprehensible and corrupt”.

The latest development in the Kaizer Chiefs saga is that Cape Town City FC are outraged that the PSL, its parent body, who have decided to adhere to the outcome of the Safa arbitration tribunal. The arbitration process led by Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC ordered that the matches which City failed to play in December should be rescheduled.

The PSL's rules say that the outcome of a Safa arbitration is final and binding. Prior to the start of the process, the PSL agreed to Chiefs' request that the matter should go to arbitration. The PSL also agreed to the appointment of Cassim as the arbitrator.

Now that the arbitration process has come and gone, the PSL, in the first instance decided to review the award, instead of being grateful that the matter has been concluded. The PSL has now decided to proceed to the High Court to contest the arbitration outcome.

What has now emerged thanks to a leaked document is that PSL's case will be heard on 10 May. However, the PSL have decided in the meantime to carry out the decision by Cassim, who ordered the matches to be replayed.

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The mind boggles because the PSL have decided to go to court. The PSL, as an organization, have nothing to gain by taking this action. There are however affiliated clubs who stand to benefit because of the bonus of 3-0 wins and the resultant log points because Chiefs failed to fulfil two fixtures in December.

There are many who feel Chiefs have been favoured by the arbitration process and that the matter should not have reached that point.

Almost two years ago the PSL decided that no team can default because of Covid-19 reasons. What the PSL did not realise at the time was that an entire club could be affected. No-one in the PSL had the foresight to realise that Covid-19 could take down an entire club. In the case of Chiefs at least 51 people (players and technical staff) were affected and Chiefs turned to health authorities to ensure it was dealing with the crisis according to health protocols.

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Prior to the Chiefs saga, clubs who defaulted for Covid-19 reasons were penalized but it was usually two or three ineligible players who were fielded in place of affected players.

The PSL have fixtured Chiefs to play the two matches, but it remains to be seen if City will pitch. Two weeks ago, City chairman John Comitis showed contempt for the arbitration outcome and declared: "Chiefs can have the three points."

Since Comitis is a PSL executive member, one wonders who in the PSL decided to go to the court since Comitis has already publicly conceded the three points to Chiefs.

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