Siem: PSL doing all it can

2008-05-14 00:00

THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) is doing all it can to ensure the bribery case against FC AK is dealt with speedily so the National First Division (NFD) play-off final can continue, says CEO Kjetil Siem.

The appeal of the case, in which FC AK were found guilty of bribery and expelled from the NFD to the Vodacom League, will be heard by the Safa Appeals board on Monday. After that FC AK still have 72 hours to apply to take the matter to arbitration.

Inland Stream winners AK were to have been Coastal victors Maritzburg United’s opponents in the NFD play-off final for promotion to the PSL, which has been suspended and now seems likely to be played on June 7 and 14 at the earliest.

The PSL yesterday moved to allay fears that a threat by AK owner Azziz Kara to go to the high court if he loses at arbitration level will delay the play-off even further. Kara is banned from soccer for 30 years.

Asked if he is fearful of the case dragging on to problematic proportions, Siem replied: “No— the way I see it the soccer body must conduct its own judgment and the civil court is something else.

“I would prefer for soccer matters to be handled by the soccer authorities, because soccer has a structure and a season to think about.

“For example, a ball being in or out can decide whether a team is relegated or not. But if a soccer body says the ball was in and the team in question takes the matter to a civil court to dispute this, the case can go on for a year a two.

“FC AK have had their name tarnished by this verdict, and it is natural that he [Kara] should want to clear his name. But we need to handle the matter within the soccer body.”

PSL prosecutor Zola Majavu said that, as a citizen, it is Kara’s right to take the case to the high court, but this will not delay the NFD play-off final any further. “I’m not sure on what basis he would take it to the high court, because the Premier Soccer League has its own constitution which acts as a contract between the teams and the body, governing its rules and the appeal processes.

“But even if he were to take it to the high court, it will not delay the play-offs any further, because as soon as the arbitration decision has been made we will proceed with the play-offs. This is regardless of whether Mr Kara takes the case to the high court.”

Siem said that the league is doing its best to ensure the case is resolved as quickly as possible within the PSL rules and constitution. “Our plan is to do this as quickly as possible, and our first priority once the case is concluded is to establish who will go into the play-off. It is an important case against FC AK, because bribery is the absolute bottom line of all transgressions in this sport, and we have to do things properly.

“Of course it is not an ideal situation at all for the clubs concerned who are waiting to play in the play-off final and promotion/relegation play-offs. But we have to stick to our rules, constitution and process and we are doing what we can to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”

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