JOHANNESBURG – The Premier Soccer League (PSL) hasn’t considered increasing the number of teams in the league for now. That’s because chairman Irvin Khoza, argues Judge Denise Fisher’s judgement didn’t find the PSL in the wrong on the Tendai Ndoro saga.
The South Gauteng High Court last week set aside Advocate William Mokhari’s ruling on the eligibility of the Zimbabwean forward to represent Ajax Cape Town last season. Mokhari, serving as an arbitrator for Safa, found Ajax guilty on five charges of misconduct arising from the fielding of Ndoro who was deemed ineligible, leading to their automatic relegation.
Ndoro shouldn’t have represented Ajax last season as it’s against Fifa rules for a player to represent three teams in a season. The Zimbabwean played for Orlando Pirates, Saudi Arabia’s Al Faisaly before joining Ajax in January. But the PSL’s Dispute Resolution Chamber cleared Ajax to field Ndoro.
The PSL appealed that decision and won. The Urban Warriors fought the matter in the courts which led to them getting a reprieve last week with Judge Fisher setting aside Mokhari’s ruling arguing that he didn’t have jurisdiction on the matter.
Judge Fisher referred the matter to the Fifa Players’ Status Committee. The PSL will appeal that ruling after an extraordinary Board of Governors meeting on Thursday. The whole drama threatens to delay the start of the 2018/19 season that was scheduled for the first weekend of August.
That has led to an argument that the PSL should increase the number of teams in the league from 16 to 18 to remedy the matter. Highlands Park and Black Leopards have already confirmed their places in the Premier Division, replacing Ajax and Platinum Stars. The “solution” is that the PSL should just “promote” Ajax from the National First Division (NFD) along with Jomo Cosmos who finished behind Highlands and Leopards.
“That matter is for the Board of Governors,” Khoza said. “The rules are clear on how you get involved in the Premier Division. That’s why that matter was never on the table in our (executive committee) meeting. We never discussed it. We don’t know, maybe in the Board of Governors meeting it might be discussed. But here it wasn’t discussed because there is nothing that informed it because the judgement was clear.
The other requests that were made by the people who took the matter to court were not granted. They only granted this one but it doesn’t say the PSL is wrong.
"It just says the body that dealt with the matter is not the right body, the right body is Fifa Players’ Status Committee. That’s why there is nothing that encourages us to even consider that part as an option, for now.”
Money is another stumbling block in this solution. Clubs in the Premier Division get R1.5-million in monthly grants each. If this “proposal” were to pass, grants would be cut to accommodate newcomers as there is no proposed financial stream to supplement the two extra teams. Clubs in the first division get R30 000 a month and that would also decrease.
There are also logistical challenges as it means that the NFD would also need to increase its number of teams from 16 to 18. The Board of Governors is made up of the clubs in the Premier Division and NFD and they’re unlikely to make a ruling that would hit them in their pockets.