Gauteng judge could finally end PSL-Royal AM stand-off
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CAPE TOWN - It might be easier said than done, but Gauteng High Court Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland is the one holding the keys to unlocking the impasse between the PSL and NFD club Royal AM.
Earlier this week, the PSL requested Sutherland to deal with Royal AM's application for leave to appeal “as a matter of extreme urgency”.
Sutherland will deal with the matter today, and hopefully, the outcome will be final and binding.
The request follows Sutherland's confirmation of the Safa Arbitration Tribunal award handed down by Advocate Hilton Epstein.
The consequence was that Sekhukhune United secured automatic promotion to the Premiership for next season.
The KwaZulu-Natal based Royal AM were embittered with Sutherland's decision, and on Monday they successfully obtained an interdict from Judge AJ Nyathi to temporarily pause the start of the PSL promotion/relegation playoffs. It was scheduled to commence on Tuesday.
The PSL revised the fixture list, which was meant to come into effect yesterday with a match at Nelson Mandela Stadium between Chippa United and Richards Bay.
Royal AM sprang into action again to ensure that yesterday's game did not proceed.
Later on, the PSL relented and issued a statement, informing that the game had been postponed.
The PSL's statement, in part, read: “A legal dispute has arisen between Royal AM and the league as to whether the order granted by Nyathi AJ has been suspended as a result of the filing by the league of an application for leave to appeal Nyathi AJ's order.
“The league contends that the order has been suspended, while Royal AM contends that it has not. In the circumstances, the league has elected to:1. Postpone the start of the playoffs.
2. Seek the urgent intervention of the High Court.
“Unfortunately, that means that Richards Bay Football Club and Chippa United Football Club will not be able to play their scheduled match today (Thursday).
“The risks to the completion of the season are obvious, but in view of the dispute, the league has elected to act with an abundance of caution even in extremely trying circumstances for all member clubs, their players, and those affected in this matter.”
The latest turn of events in this ongoing soap opera has left the PSL with egg on their faces since their executive and acting chief executive Mato Madlala initially came out in support of Royal AM who were hell-bent on securing automatic promotion to the Premiership.
By this time, the PSL had been driven into a corner. They need to rein in their renegade club so that playoffs can proceed in the next day or so.
If not, the consequences will be dire because the contracts of many players from the three clubs expire on June 30, and they may not be eligible to play after this date.