Absa Premiership

The PSL's stubborn shame

Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)
Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - You can lead a mule to water, but it is indeed true you cannot make it drink.

This truism was strikingly evident when the PSL administration's mulish stubbornness in not introducing VAR technology reached new heights of shame on Saturday in the Telkom Knockout Cup final when a controversial last-minute equalising goal for stubborn underdogs Maritzburg United was disallowed in Mamelodi Sundowns' ultimate 2-1 victory.

It was an excruciatingly close call, but VAR could have clarified the issue on which so much rested in financial matters, honour, glory and indeed the careers of officials and players alike.

No wonder Maritzburg head coach Eric Tinkler exploded in indignation afterwards after what a majority of neutral observers believed should have been an equalising goal.

And this was not an isolated instance during the current South African soccer season in which refereeing decisions and linesmen's decisions, in some instances relating to close calls and in others to downright inexcusable errors, have affected the outcome of games and may ultimately go on to affect the destination of competitions as well.

On the contrary, the unhappy trend has continued unabated in almost epidemic proportions and while VAR will not eliminate wrong decisions altogether, its introduction would undoubtedly make a significant difference.

The PSL, for their part, blandly continue to insist they are looking into the matter, tip-toeing to the edge of the water, but still not demonstrating any sign of taking a sip in the stream of progress.

Acting PSL CEO Mato Madlala, for example, has come up with the largely far-fetched explanation that introducing VAR is a problem because the clubs are not the owners of their home venues.

It would not have been necessary for the PSL, in the first instance, to have bought ownership rights on Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium in order to introduce a form of VAR for the Telkom Knockout Cup final.

And, with the PSL boasting recently of becoming a billionaire organisation, finance should not be a problem here either for an organisation who appear admirably adept and astute at making money - but not as professional on how to spend it.

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