United to play FC AK in final next week

2008-06-17 00:00

AFTER more than two months of waiting, finally Maritzburg United have a date and an opponent for the National First Division playoff final for promotion to the PSL.

United will play FC AK in the play-off final in the away leg in Eldorado Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday next week, then at Harry Gwala Stadium next Sunday.

This follows the finding of the arbitration hearing in the bribery and corruption case against FC AK and owner Azziz Kara last night, in which AK’s place in the NFD final was reinstated. The arbitrator upheld the guilty verdict against FC AK, but the Inland Stream winners will not have any points deducted.

Kara and the club were each fined R500 000, with half the club’s fine suspended for five years. Kara’s ban was reduced from a life term to 10 years.

“The club were [last night] also instructed to pay all costs from the time of the DC through to the arbitration,” PSL prosecutor Zola Majavu told the Witness last night. “This includes all the junior and senior advocates’ fees, the arbitrator, the arbitration venue, recording devices and the league’s costs.”

The prosecutor said he is “glad the case is over so we can all continue with our lives”.

He added: “I was accused of conspiracies and the arbitrator upholding the guilty verdict vindicates the league’s stand. In retrospect, I probably agree with the finding of the arbitrator that to banish the club to a lower league would have been unfair because it would have punished the players. Rather root out the one rotten apple and deal with him [Kara].”

Majavu said the PSL might still consider applying to Fifa to have Kara’s ban extended.

For Maritzburg United’s management and coaching staff, the aim now is to have their players in top condition for the NFD playoff final.

United had been in good form at the end of the season, winning their last four matches to win the Coastal Stream and qualify for the final.

But they have been inactive since beating Durban Stars 3-1 on April 12, and will hope their loss of momentum does not affect their chances in next week’s crucial promotion matches.

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