It’s a royal mess as Durban team fails to pitch for play-offs

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Royal AM FC players celebrate their win against Cape Town All Stars at Chatsworth Stadium on 23 May 2021 during the GladAfrica Championship 2020/21. Photo: Steve Haag/ BackpagePix
Royal AM FC players celebrate their win against Cape Town All Stars at Chatsworth Stadium on 23 May 2021 during the GladAfrica Championship 2020/21. Photo: Steve Haag/ BackpagePix

SPORT


There was drama at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban after Royal AM made good on their promise to boycott their play-off game against Chippa United on Tuesday afternoon.

The Durban-based club was scheduled to take on the Chilli Boys in the second game of this year’s promotion/relegation games. The play-offs kicked off on Saturday with Chippa securing a 2-1 win over Richards Bay.

The affluent Royal AM, which is owned by businesswoman Shauwn Mkhize, has taken the PSL to court.

READ: Editorial | Promotion chaos exposes unstable PSL

In a video posted on social media on Monday, Mkhize vowed that her team would not play the game.

According to media reports from Durban, Royal AM pitched at the stadium only for the team to leave moments later, while Chippa players and match officials made their way on to the field and even observed a moment of silence in honour of frontline workers.

Royal AM’s failure to honour the game means Chippa will be given a 3-0 walkover, meaning they have now accumulated six points from their two matches.

As per National Soccer League handbook rules, a team that fails to honour a game will automatically lose the match.

The Royal AM fiasco stems from an ongoing legal dispute over who should be the winner of the GladAfrica Championship.

In May, Sekhukhune United were awarded three points by advocate Hilton Esptein in an arbitration relating to their game against Polokwane City, where the latter failed to comply with the Under-23 rule, which requires that teams in the first division have five players under the age of 23 on the team sheet for each game.

READ: No end in sight for PSL and Royal battle

Polokwane only had four in their game in January due to positive Covid-19 tests. Initially, the PSL refused to award the points to Sekhukhune. The club then approached the Johannesburg High Court, where Judge Roland Sutherland granted them a declaratory order forcing the PSL to implement the arbitration ruling.

This ruling propelled Sekhukhune to the top of the GladAfrica Championship and they were pronounced winners.

Royal AM want these standings overturned and insist that they are the rightful champions as they finished top of the log before the three-point award to Sekhukhune.

Last week, Johannesburg High Court Judge AJ Nyathi granted Royal AM an interdict to halt the start of the play-offs until their appeal is heard.

READ: PSL’s timeline of shame

Mkhize’s club contends that the interdict is still valid despite its leave to appeal being dismissed on Friday.

Royal AM lawyers this week approached the Supreme Court of Appeal to overturn the ruling that forced the PSL to award points to Sekhukhune.

More drama is expected in this saga as the club has another play-off scheduled against Richards Bay on Thursday.

The PSL had not yet commented on Royal AM’s no-show.


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Gomolemo Motshwane  

Sport journalist

+27 11 713 9001
gomolemo.motshwane@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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