JOHANNESBURG - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Ajax Cape Town are on a collision course that could affect when the 2018/19 season starts and which teams will be campaigning in the Premiership.
PSL chairman, Irvin Khoza, after a Board of Governors meeting at the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday, announced that the league will start as scheduled on the first weekend of August even though the Tendai Ndoro saga is yet to be finalised. But the league starting on time isn’t entirely on the hands of the PSL.
Urban Warriors chairman, Ari Efstathiou, told Sowetan that if the PSL appealed Judge Denise Fisher’s judgment, which set aside Advocate William Mokhari’s ruling, then the Cape side will request that the date of the start of the new season be moved and if that wish isn’t granted, they will interdict the start of the 2018/19 campaign. The PSL wasn’t moved by that threat and now the ball is on Ajax’s court.
“The wars of ifs have never been won,” Khoza said, in response to what the PSL will do should Ajax interdict the start of the season.
“We will wait for it at the appropriate time and respond accordingly, but for now we are going ahead because we have a responsibility towards our sponsors. We’ve got a responsibility towards other stakeholders. But more importantly is that this is going to be the most congested season in the history of the PSL. That’s why missing one date can have irreparable damage to the finishing of the league this season.”
Khoza continued, “Remember that Caf has congested the fixtures because they are going to be in transition into a new cycle of the Champions League (and Confederation Cup, which will now run from August to May instead of February to November). There is the Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations). That’s why we have to deal with this matter decisively, obviously everybody involved must make it easy for us to have this matter resolved because if you don’t do that, we will have to bare the consequences… We are protecting our interest in making sure that sponsors know that we can take decisions.”
This whole saga was started by Ajax fielding Ndoro on January 12 against Platinum Stars. That act contravened Fifa rules that state that a player can register for three clubs in one season but can only play for two. Ndoro had already represented Orlando Pirates and Saudi Arabian club Al Faisaly. The Cape side did so because the PSL Dispute Resolution Chamber gave them the go ahead.
The PSL appealed that ruling and won. Ajax were then found guilty on five charges of misconduct arising from the fielding of Ndoro who was deemed ineligible, leading to their automatic relegation. Advocate Mokhari handed Dikwena, Polokwane City and SuperSport United three points for the matches Ajax fielded Ndoro against them.
Ajax fought that sanction and they were given reprieve last week when Judge Fisher set aside Mokhari’s ruling, arguing that he didn’t have jurisdiction and the matter must be heard by the Fifa Players’ Status Committee. The PSL is appealing that judgement and they are in a race against time to have their appeal heard and the matter finalised before next month.
“We need to start at the court first because (Judge Fisher’s ruling) hamstrings us insofar as taking decision on matters that affect us day-to-day because if we would go with this judgement it doesn’t make things easy for us going into the future in terms of the interpretation,” Khoza said. “That’s what we want to clarify, the interpretation to say that what can we do and can’t we do on the basis of the judgement that we have on the table.”