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PSL out to overturn Kaizer Chiefs’ arbitration award

PSL prosecutor Adv Zola Majavu
FILE – PSL prosecutor Adv Zola Majavu. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

Speculation is rife that the Premier Soccer League executive committee will attempt to overturn the arbitration victory award to Kaizer Chiefs.

Cape Town — Speculation is rife that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) executive committee (exco) will attempt to overturn the arbitration award of Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC who ordered the games to be played after Kaizer Chiefs failed to fulfil two Premiership fixtures last December.

The PSL have not responded to attempts to confirm that the exco is seeking to review the arbitration award of Arbitrator Cassim and possibly contest it in court.

When the South African Football Association (SAFA) agreed to convene the arbitration, both Chiefs and the PSL on Cassim as the arbitrator. SAFA’s constitution says the decision of an arbitrator shall be final and binding. Cassim is no stranger in the role of arbitrator and in the past, some of his outcomes were in favour of the PSL.

According to the leaked information from Wednesday’s exco meeting, Kaizer Motaung (Chiefs), John Comitis (Cape Town City) and Mato Madlala (Golden Arrows) were not part of the deliberations about Cassim’s verdict. In their absence, the rest of the exco would be Irvin Khoza (chairman, Orlando Pirates), Stanley Matthews (SuperSport United), David Thidiela (Black Leopards), Rejoice Simelane (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Robert Benadie (Stellenbosch).

Under normal conditions the PSL should be pleased that the arbitration had gone its course, perhaps none more so than the Premier Soccer League’s Zola Majavu. Since he was reinstated last December, Majavu has cleared a mountain of disciplinary cases. He has repeatedly said that there will not be any disciplinary cases hanging in the air when the curtain comes down on the current season.

In the absence of Motaung, Comitis and Madlala, the remaining five exco members decided on a review and that the arbitrator’s ruling was not final and binding.

Nothing in football, it seems, despite comprehensive manuals and handbooks in South Africa, is final and binding. For over a year, Royal AM showed that the PSL’s constitution is not worth the paper it is written on. PSL clubs may not drag their parent body to court, but Royal AM has done so with impunity.

And then there is City chairman Comitis who has publicly stated that Chiefs can have the three points. It cannot also be in order for Comitis to pass judgment publicly on an arbitration outcome taken by the country’s football controlling body. It is not unlikely that the PSL will bring him to book.

Comitis himself is a champion when showing the PSL the middle finger. A few seasons ago, his club signed accepted sponsorship from an Africa-based sports betting company SportPesa. This flew in the face of PSL rules which stated that no club could sign a sports betting company as a sponsor without permission of the PSL.

After months of wrangling, the PSL was never able to impose itself on the matter and City carried on with gay abandon.

On Wednesday afternoon, Chiefs issued a public statement, and which was sent to the PSL.

It reads: ‘Kaizer Chiefs is shocked and bewildered by the recent news reaching the club. Despite a lack of formal communication from the League (PSL), which one would expect, the club has been informed of the PSL Executive Committee’s resolution to review the arbitration award of Adv. Nazeer Cassim SC, which was handed down on Friday, 18 March 2022.

‘The arbitration award correctly decided that the interruption in the club’s performance for the two missed December fixtures was temporarily halted by vis major (that is an overwhelming, unanticipated, and unpreventable event) created by Omicron.

‘Notwithstanding the fair outcome and a costs award to those affected by the organising of the two matches, it appears the league is dissatisfied with the outcome and intends to review it, with a view of setting aside the award in the High Court.

‘This unfortunate step has taken the club by surprise as in doing so the League is in breach of its own Constitution and Rules as well as SAFA Statutes which frown upon the Court systems for resolving football disputes.

‘The club will have no choice but to defend such a challenge as it is of the view that the arbitrator came to the lawful and reasonable conclusion that, it would have been negligent if not reckless for the club to field a team for the two games, and that Kaizer Chiefs acted as a responsible employer in the circumstances.

‘The matter shall soon be sub-judice, and the club shall not give any further comment in this regard. We trust that the football-loving community will provide the club with the necessary respect and support required in attending to this matter.’

It is highly unlikely that the PSL will move on to fight the matter in court.

If they do, Royal AM and Comitis have shown they are easy meat in legal battles.


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