Yusuf Maart of Sekhukhune United celebrates goal with teammates during GladAfrica Championship 2020/21 match JDR Stars and Sekhukhune at Giant Stadium, Pretoria, on 23 May 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Yusuf Maart of Sekhukhune United celebrates goal with teammates during GladAfrica Championship 2020/21 match JDR Stars and Sekhukhune at Giant Stadium, Pretoria, on 23 May 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The PSL is in conflict with its own rules

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Jun 11, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) have brought football into disrepute by undermining the independence of its own judicial tribunal when it challenged the decision to award Sekhukhune United three points after Polokwane City were found guilty of contravening the rules of the GladAfrica Championship.

Instead of accepting the outcome, the PSL executive decided to challenge the decision by saying "it is the view of the League that it is not correct".

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This bewildering statement raised eyebrows in the football fraternity.

The GladAfrica Championship ended just over a week ago, but the winners were not declared.

Initially, the PSL disciplinary committee found Polokwane had contravened the competition rules against Sekhukhune. Polokwane were found guilty. It did not award the match points to Sekhukhune, who later appealed.

The PSL turned to the South African Football Association to handle the appeal via arbitration.

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There is nothing difficult to understand about the decision to hand the points to Sekhukhune. In various sports codes, the team breaking the law forfeit points, and it is awarded to the opposing team.

The matter went before arbitrator Hilton Epstein who ruled that the PSL must award Sekhukhune three points.

The PSL did not object to the appeal going to the arbitrator. There was no reason to doubt that the correct decision would be made.

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The National Soccer League, the umbrella body of PSL and NFD (National First Division) had updated the rules of competition with the advent of Covid-19. The rules spell out any issues that may arise because of Covid-19.

Polokwane had no difficulty accepting the decision until the PSL's surprise reaction.

Polokwane have curiously gone this route even though the outcome does not affect their log position.

The PSL responded to the outcome by saying that “It is the view of the League that it is not correct". They point out that PSL's Disciplinary Code is "silent" on the matter. The rules cover the full spectrum of the competition.

In terms of the PSL constitution, the arbitration ruling is final and binding (Rule 25.4).

The PSL also announced that "the arbitration ruling has created uncertainty about the discretion afforded to the PSL Disciplinary Committee to determine an appropriate sanction for acts of misconduct in each case".

The PSL's response raised suspicion that a person or persons on the executive may have vested interests. The National Soccer League's Board of Governors also expressed their dismay. The Board of Governors are elected by the PSL and NFD.

Later the PSL announced: "The Premier Soccer League has been threatened and served with court papers about an arbitration award handed down impacting the GladAfrica Championship table.”

The PSL did not name the club, but it has come to light that it is Polokwane.

Bizarrely, the PSL chose to remain 'silent' instead of advising Polokwane City that its 32 clubs may not approach the courts to seek recourse.

Rule 26 reads: “Any breach of this article will constitute misconduct which will be dealt with in terms of the League's disciplinary procedures.”

Hopefully, the uncalled-for court action will take its course, and all will be resolved soon.

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