Johannesburg - Imagine the uproar if Orlando Pirates were to be awarded the three points they lost to Ajax Cape Town via a 3-0 drubbing. And just imagine what would happen if they went on to win the league championship.
All hell would break loose.
Imagine the insinuations, insults and unprintable expletives that would be directed towards the league and its chairperson Irvin Khoza, who is also Pirates’ chairperson.
The fact is, this is highly likely.
In the event that the three points were awarded to Pirates, the Bucs would be just a point behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns – if Ajax are deemed to have used an ineligible player in Tendai Ndoro.
The case is set for March 26.
I’d bet my last cent that Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will lead the chorus on how corrupt the league is and how Khoza is conflicted, not forgetting the Twitter mob that will be out in full force.
Mosimane would be right, though. Why wait for so long before the case is finalised?
All this could have been avoided had the matter been settled earlier.
It is important that it be resolved now so that Ajax are aware of how many points they would need to survive should they lose the case.
Imagine what would happen if the arbitrator rules against Ajax and they went on to lose all the points they got when Ndoro featured.
It would be unfair to expect Ajax not to use the player when he was cleared by the league’s Dispute Resolution Chamber.
As it is, the Urban Warriors are likely to lose 11 points – based on their three victories over Pirates, Platinum Stars and SuperSport United, and draws against Free State Stars and Polokwane City.
If the matter is concluded towards the end of the season and Pirates suddenly gain three points to overtake Sundowns, it could add a bitter taste to any league honours they would have gained.
This could also open up the possibility of endless litigation with whichever team that is disadvantaged from the final ruling of the court.
Khoza might not be personally involved in the day-to-day running of the league, but the onus is on him to make sure there is a smooth operation. After all, he is the head. Whatever happens, the buck stops with him – whether he likes it or not.
The league or the SA Football Association (Safa) should have dealt with this matter decisively a long time ago.
A verdict against Ajax would lead to accusations about how mafias are running the league and how they always wanted Pirates to win it.
The league proved its independence from its Dispute Resolution Chamber, which comprises independent professionals. As to how these non-football people came to their conclusion would be a matter for another day as the Fifa rules are clear on this one.
Once the matter is referred for arbitration, it is out of the league’s hands and belongs to Safa.
As much as one understands that senior counsels are not always readily available when they are needed, this matter needs urgent attention to put it to bed. Instead, by the time it is heard later this month, it would have dragged on for almost two months. This should not have been allowed.
Even in court, there are urgent matters that are heard immediately – even at night – and it is up to the judge to determine if the issue is urgent enough.
This is one of those issues that should have brought everything to a halt and been dealt with speedily.
If one lawyer was not available, another one should have been sought immediately.
But not in our football. There was no need for extra time this time.
If we want to be taken seriously, these are but some of the little things we need to get right.
Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi