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‘A dark day for SA football’ after arbitration goes Chiefs’ way says John Comitis

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Cape Town City owner John Comitis
FILE – Cape Town City owner John Comitis. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town City chairman John Comitis has cried foul after the SAFA arbitrator ruled in favour of Kaizer Chiefs during the recent arbitration.

Cape Town — John Comitis, who serves on the PSL executive committee, which is manifestly conflicted, has cried foul after the SA Football Association arbitrator Nazeer Cassim SC ruled that the matches, which Chiefs missed because of a massive Covid-19 outbreak in the club, should be replayed.

Comitis, the chairman of Cape Town City, declared: “It was a dark day for South African football.” Comitis shared his thoughts on the arbitration outcome on the latest offering of the Marawa Sports Worldwide podcast.

It is a tragedy that it has taken Comitis so long to realise that club chairmen on the executive committee that attends to the PSL’s day-to-day affairs, is inherently conflicted.

Independent people, who have no vested interest in the clubs, should be tasked with the day-to-day affairs running of the PSL.

On December 2, Comitis attended an executive committee meeting that heard a request by Chiefs to postpone matches. It was a dark day for SA football when the executive committee decided to do and say nothing.

Chiefs’ request provided medical proof of the dire situation and a comprehensive account of what the club was required to do legally in terms of Covid-19 protocols.

Another dark day for SA football followed when the executive committee decided not to advise Cape Town City and Golden Arrows that Chiefs would be unable to play the fixtures on December 4 and December 8.

The executive committee also showed gross disrespect to the sponsors DStv who pitched up fully prepared for a live broadcast at FNB for the December 4 match.

They, too, were left in the dark.

Apart from Comitis, PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala also chairperson of Arrows, serves on the executive committee. Perhaps the only reason why these two clubs decided to pitch up at the match venues was that they were confident that ‘no-shows’ would guarantee them 3-0 verdicts.

This would be in keeping with what Comitis refers to as “football rules”, something that the PSL has been overlooking for some now.

Just over a year ago, a club defaulted in a match against Sekhukhune United. Instead of the PSL applying “football rules” the defaulting club was punished, but the Sekhukhune was not awarded the match points.

As a result of the PSL failing to perform a basic duty, many dark days in SA football followed as Royal AM set off on a marathon legal spell to deny Sekhukhune the points that were rightfully theirs in terms of “football rules”.

More recently Madlala’s club was found guilty of the improper registration of a player who had played in several matches. Sensationally, “football rules” did not apply, and matches in which the improperly registered player participated were not declared 3-0 results to the opposition teams.

It was another dark day for football.

In the podcast, Comitis makes the point: “Here we have a club (Chiefs) not arriving at a match, and we allow this thing to get to this point, because we didn’t act, and the prosecution didn’t act.”

Can Comitis rightly feel aggrieved that he was part of the executive committee meeting that remained stum when a fellow club had been severely affected by the pandemic?

Even worse, was that a second club Arrows, whose chair also serves on the executive, knew the full extent of Chiefs’ situation and went along to the match venue, pretending a match will take place.

Since the arbitration verdict was made known, the executive committee has not yet had a chance to meet.

However, when they do meet, let’s hope Comitis rips into his fellow executive members and convinces them of its inherent conflict of interests, and the consequences thereof.

If Comitis does not, many more dark days lie ahead for SA football.

@Herman_Gibbs

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