The Premier Soccer League (PSL) supports Polokwane City’s application in the Johannesburg high court to review and set aside a Safa arbitration decision that awarded Sekhukhune United three points.
This was confirmed by PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala in a statement.
Polokwane cited the South African Football Association (Safa) as first respondents‚ the PSL as second‚ SA Football Association arbitrator Hilton Epstein SC as the third and Sekhukhune as the fourth respondents in their court papers filed on Monday.
Madlala said that even though the PSL was cited as a respondent to the Polokwane court application‚ the league sees itself as a co-applicant but may seek a different relief from that sought by the club.
“We confirm that the NSL will be participating in the application and will be supporting the review sought by the applicant‚ albeit the NSL may seek different relief to that already sought by the applicant in the application‚” said Madlala.
“In other words‚ although cited as a respondent to the application‚ the NSL considers its position to be akin to a co-applicant‚ given the position it adopts on the merits of the review‚ and it proposes to proceed accordingly.”
The PSL and other respondents were required‚ as per the Polokwane urgent application‚ to file their answering papers by 4pm on Wednesday May 26. The application is to be heard on Friday May 28. While Madlala bemoaned the short turnaround‚ she confirmed the PSL will file its affidavit on Friday but asked for more time before the matter can be set down for a hearing.
“The NSL proposes the remaining respondents will file their respective answering affidavits by no later than Tuesday 1 June 2021. The NSL proposes that the applicant [Polokwane] will file its replying affidavits by Thursday 3 June 2021 and the application will be set down for hearing on Tuesday 8 June 2021‚” said Madlala.
The final outcome of the race for automatic promotion remains up in the air after Polokwane went against the grain on Monday afternoon when they approached a court of law. It is against rule 26 in the PSL handbook for any member of its 32 clubs approach courts to seek recourse.
“Any breach of this article will constitute misconduct which will be dealt with in terms of the League’s disciplinary procedures‚” reads article 26.
Polokwane’s court action therefore put the club in direct contravention of rule 26 of the PSL handbook. Their action also has no regard for rule 25.4‚ which states that “the [Safa] arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding”.
Madlala also said the PSL is willing to postpone the relegation-promotion playoffs to June 13 but added that there will be no further postponement beyond June 30.
“The urgency of the application is based on the fact that the League’s play-offs cannot commence until the application is determined. The NSL proposes to postpone the commencement of the League’s play-offs to 13 June 2021. This is however the last date to which the play-offs may be postponed‚ given that the play-offs must be completed by 30 June 2021,” said Madlala.
“That is the last day of the season as well as the day on which the contracts between member clubs and their players terminate.
“The NSL is willing‚ however‚ to postpone the play-offs in order to enable all interested parties to respond meaningfully to the application and in order to enable the application‚ which is of great importance to the NSL and all member clubs.”
It also emerged from Madlala’s statement that there are other clubs who registered their interest in the matter.
“The NSL has also received ‚ as recently as Friday 21 May 2021‚ correspondence from other member clubs not currently cited in the application but who may be affected by the outcome and who have indicated that they may have an interest in being involved in the determination of this matter.”