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Toxic PSL sign off for 2021 playing hot potato with Covid-hit Kaizer Chiefs

Dr Irvin Khoza, PSL Chairman. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Dr Irvin Khoza, PSL Chairman. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Jan 1, 2022


Cape Town - England’s Premier League found it necessary to postpone a swathe of games after Covid-19 outbreaks at clubs.

It started with Tottenham Hotspur reporting Covid-19 cases in their first team. Eight first-team players and five members of staff were down with coronavirus.

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Soon, Leicester City also suffered a Covid-19 outbreak, and more clubs were affected.

The Premiership issued daily statements to keep clubs and fans aware of its response to postpone matches and cancellations.

PSL needed a lightbulb moment

There was so much that South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) could have learnt from their English counterparts.

Long after (around 18 days) the Chiefs letter (asking for their games in December to be postponed), and after Chiefs were unable to fulfil two fixtures (Chiefs would not field a team with seven players), the PSL finally announced that Chiefs’ request had been declined. The PSL points to circulars issued a year or more ago saying that the pandemic cannot be a reason for postponing a match.

ALSO READ: PSL declines request by Covid-hit Kaizer Chiefs to postpone their December games

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A year ago when the PSL decided on pandemic-related matters, they could not have imagined that a team could lose 31 people at any given time during the pandemic. As it turned out Chiefs’ situation worsened a few days later and the number exceeded 40.

After declining the request, the PSL should rule 3-0 wins for Cape Town City and Golden Arrows but before that

happens, Chiefs will appeal the decision.

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PSL’s toxic culture moments

The PSL executive is made up of the chairmen of clubs, and they govern themselves. Time and again, there has been a fundamental conflict of interest. It would not be the case if the executive were made up of independents.

When Chiefs did not pitch for the matches against Arrows and City, Mato Madlala of Golden Arrows and John Comitis of Cape Town City, who serve on the executive, would be part of the discussion on the matter.

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The inherent conflict of interest is far greater since Irvin Khoza, of Orlando Pirates, is also the PSL chairman. Madlala is also the acting CEO of the PSL.

Instead of keeping the public regularly

informed about relevant matters, the PSL has failed to inform when there was a need to.

ALSO READ: Kaizer Chiefs Covid-19 saga: PSL exco meeting to decide what’s ’best for the clubs’

It goes against the sound company law and good governance that shareholders (like Arrows chairperson Madlala, and Pirates chairman Khoza) hold down admin positions.

The moment coop legal eagles fly the

There was a stunning silence when the PSL head of legal, Michael Murphy, followed PSL prosecutor Nande Becker through the exit door at the organisation.

They resigned at a crucial time when there were several pending disciplinary cases.

It has just come to light that Royal AM have forked out over R700 000 for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to hear the matter of them not being declared the lawful First Division winners, which saw them lose out on automatic promotion.

If CAS rules in favour of Royal AM, the DStv Premiership could be deemed invalid.

This saga started with a dispute after a match in January. The PSL disciplinary committee attended to the matter months later when match points were of the utmost importance. Had the case been settled in January, nothing further would have materialised.

Mumbo-jumbo league moments

The late Trevor Phillips, one of the finest sports administrators in South Africa and former PSL CEO, must be turning in his grave. He abhorred the chopping and changing of franchise ownerships. He said it was turning the league into a “mumbo-jumbo league”.

Over the last while, there were highly questionable sales of clubs. It seemed the league has not done its due diligence.

Finally, hardly Compact moment a Cup

A few weeks ago, the PSL called a rare press conference. Everyone expected the PSL to clear the air on some of the contentious matters dominating the headlines. Instead, it announced a new Compact Cup competition. It transpires that not all the clubs were consulted, and some are unhappy.

Finally, PSL have taken the trouble to announce they will be back on January 5, next year. In the meantime, silence on crucial matters will reign.


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