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Arbitrator dismisses Celtic’s protest

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Protest against Sundowns and Tebogo Langerman rendered invalid

Mamelodi Sundowns winners of the 2020 Nedbank Cup final match against Bloemfontein Celtic. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

IT WILL be the first time the players return for national duty since the Rugby World Cup trophy tour in November last year.

Safa’s arbitration has decided to throw the rule book at Bloemfontein Celtic, and Mamelodi Sundowns have been let off the hook.

Celtic had lodged a protest with the PSL after Sundowns included a suspended player, Tebogo Langerman, on their team sheet for the recent Nedbank Cup final at Orlando Stadium.

Mamelodi Sundowns fullback Tebogo Langerman. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, Backpagepix.

The PSL decided that the arbitration of Safa should make a call on the matter. Advocate Gcina Malindi SC was the arbitrator.

The rules governing play in the PSL are all contained in the National Soccer League handbook. The NSL is made up of the PSL and the GladAfrica Championship.

The rules require a protest to be lodged 30 minutes before the start of a game. Celtic officially lodged the protest towards the end of the match when it appeared that Sundowns were about to bring on Langerman as a substitute.

It did not happen because a match official stopped the substitution. The official was aware that Langerman’s name appeared on a list of players who had been suspended and was therefore not eligible to play in the match.

It is then that Celtic lodged a protest, but the timing of it was at odds with the rules. As a result, Celtic lost their case which cost them R20,000 to lodge. Their protest was rendered invalid.

Sundowns also broke the rules when they included Langerman among the substitutes on the official team sheet. The arbitrator will probably make a call on that matter, and a verdict will likely follow on Monday. It is expected that Sundowns will only be slapped with a monetary fine.

This case also points out the administrative shortcomings at the highest level of the professional game in South Africa. The PSL circulated the names of suspended players a few days before the final, but Sundowns still went ahead and included Langerman in their matchday squad.

Admittedly, Sundowns did not see that Langerman was among the list of suspended players.

Matchday squads are submitted to the referee an hour before a match, and at the same time, the teams exchange team sheets. Much like Sundowns, Celtic failed to see the name of a suspended player on the opposition’s team list.

Former PSL general manager and referee expert Ace Ncobo said that had Celtic acted by the rules and lodged a protest 30 minutes before kick-off, the player’s name would have been removed from the team sheet and Sundowns would have faced a charge of misconduct.