PSL’s world court threat

2014-01-05 14:00

Thanda, Chippa will hear this week what the Court of Arbitration for Sport makes of their cases.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) programme – already in disarray – might be thrown into further chaos if Thanda Royal Zulu and Chippa United win their cases at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which sits in the next two days.

Thanda’s hearing will take place tomorrow while United’s matter will be heard on Tuesday, both in Sandton, northern Joburg.

The two National First Division (NFD) sides turned to the Switzerland-based international arbitration body in July after several of their complaints were dismissed by the PSL’s disciplinary committee and the arbitration board of the SA?Football Association (Safa).

Thanda disputed the 2012/13 NFD final log standings that put them out of promotion to the Absa Premiership, while United are contesting that Thanda’s dispute affected them.

Thanda is taking on Safa, the National Soccer League (which is the PSL’s holding company) and have also implicated Chippa United, Santos, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Polokwane City, as well as Advocates P Pretorius and P Mokoena, who were part of the arbitration processes that dismissed their initial complaints.

They argue that the arbitration process was unfair and that the PSL should seek an independent arbitrator to run a new arbitration process.

This after they protested that Mokoena had no jurisdiction to act as an arbitrator.

And if the CAS rules in Thanda’s favour, it could affect NFD champions City’s and Aces’ promotion to the Absa Premiership as well as the positions of United and Santos, who contested last season’s promotional play-offs.

City have already played 15 matches in the PSL and Aces have competed in 14 games so far, while United and Santos are almost halfway through their NFD fixtures.

Thanda, who finished fourth last season, were among a number of NFD clubs that boycotted matches at the start of last season, a move that resulted in the teams not having played an equal number of games at the end of the campaign.

The PSL ruled that the abandoned games would not be played and no points would be awarded, but Thanda wanted the matches in question to be replayed and points to be awarded accordingly, and they appealed a PSL disciplinary committee verdict relating to their failure to honour the matches at the time of the NFD clubs’ standoff with the PSL.

Of the aforementioned clubs, only City had played a full quota of 30 matches.

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza said: “We have sent our presentations to the CAS, and our CEO [Brand de Villiers] as well as our lawyers will be part of [the hearing].”

Thanda general manager Thabani Gumede said the club will be represented by its legal team and its chair Pierre Delvaux, but he refused to comment further.

United chairperson Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi said: “We were relegated unfairly and all we want is justice. Thanda’s action to go to the courts affected us during the play-offs?because the PSL had told us that our first two play-offs [against Santos and Aces] were provisional.”

Mpengesi said he will be taking a strong legal team to the hearing.

The CAS office told City Press that it had registered the arbitration procedure.

“The procedure is ongoing and we are unable to provide any further information at this time,” said the CAS in an emailed response.

How the dispute played out

May 1

»?Thanda is charged for failure to

honour their fixture at the start of the 2012/13 NFD season. They pleaded guilty and the PSL’s disciplinary committee ruled that their match against FC Cape Town be annulled and there would be no replay or points awarded.

May 22

»?Thanda appeals the PSL disciplinary committee’s verdict.

May 25

»?Thanda argue that arbitrator Advocate

P Mokoena has no jurisdiction to act as an arbitrator. The application is dismissed.

May 28

»?Thanda turn to the High Court to appeal the PSL’s arbitration judgment.

May 29

»?Thanda bring an urgent court application to interdict the promotion play-off between Chippa and Santos.

June 21

»?The league is initially unable to include Polokwane City and Aces in the fixture list, but the 2013/14 season is finally given the green light after a league arbitrator dismissed disputes by Thanda and Chippa.


»?Thanda turn to the CAS.

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