Royal AM show they are no small fry club in play-off battle as uncertainty continues
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CAPE TOWN - THE mighty PSL, one of Africa’s most envied and richest football organisations, have been driven into a corner by lower-tier club Royal AM, whose daring legal ploy has sent shockwaves through national football’s corridors of power.
Royal AM have proved they are no small fries and have defiantly brought the PSL promotion/relegation play-offs to a screeching halt. Numerous social media posts show that Royal AM co-owner Shauwn Mkhize, a wealthy Durban businesswoman, has vowed to stop the play-offs unless her team were declared GladAfrica Championship (National First Division) winners.
Royal AM have now managed to stop the play-offs, which were scheduled to start on Tuesday.
Royal AM approached the Gauteng Supreme Court after a recent arbitration ruling that resulted in them being declared NFD runners-up.
On Monday, acting judge Nyathi of the Gauteng Supreme Court issued an interdict that halted the play-offs. The outcome was a massive show of sway which the embittered Royal AM had exercised in their relentless pursuit of being declared Championship winners instead of runners-up.
The Supreme Court’s interdict stung the PSL into action on Monday. Whereas they appeared to be sympathetic to Royal AM’s plight in the past, the sentiment in their latest statement suggests they no longer have the capacity to tolerate further delays of the play-offs.
“The PSL has been compelled to seek urgent relief as the last day of the official season is the 30th of June 2021,” a PSL statement, in part, read.
“Many player contracts terminate on that date, and any further delay in completing the playoffs places the start of the 2021/22 season at risk.”
For the first time in this saga, the PSL appears to be vulnerable. The PSL’s great fear is if the play-offs are not completed by 30 June, clubs may not have players for fixtures beyond that date as many contracts would have come to an end by then.
The two other clubs in the playoffs with Royal AM are Chippa United and Richards Bay, the Championship team that finished third. Chippa finished second-last in the Premiership and managed to avoid automatic relegation, which was the lot of Black Leopards.
Without any fanfare, the PSL quietly issued the three clubs with a revised play-off fixture list even though they are yet to know the outcome of their appeal application against the Nyathi ruling.
There is no indication when the outcome of their appeal will be known, but it is likely that the matter will be heard tomorrow.
The revised fixture list starts with a match between Richards Bay and Chippa today at Nelson Mandela Stadium.
Both Richards Bay and Chippa were tight-lipped when approached for comment, but it is known they are ready for the match. KwaZuluNatal-based Richards Bay arrived in Gqeberha yesterday.