The GladAfrica soap opera continues as Royal AM calls on Sekh …
(Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)
After a court ruling validates Sekhukhune United’s promotion to the top flight of South African football, the second-place team Royal AM is appealing the decision.
Just when it looked like it was over, the soap opera about the only automatic promotion spot from the GladAfrica Championship to the DStv Premiership took another turn on Sunday.
Judge Roland Sutherland on Saturday ruled in favor of Sekhukhune United and ordered the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to award the Tembisa-based team the three points they were awarded in a arbitral award by Hilton Epstein SC.
“The consequence is that Sekhukhune United Football Club have secured automatic promotion to DStv Premiership for next season, while football clubs Chippa United, Royal AM and Richards Bay will play in the promotion / relegation qualifiers which start on June 15th. 2021, ”reads a statement from the PSL following the decision of the High Court of South Gauteng.
This seemed to be the end of it. However, a day after the ruling was delivered, Royal indicated its intention to appeal.
The Durban team’s appeal is based on the fact that Judge Sutherland made “various gross errors of fact and / or errors of law such that the appeal would have a reasonable chance of success and / or that another tribunal would come to a different conclusion ”.
The articles list Sutherland’s alleged errors in judgment, some of which include:
“That Polokwane City FC’s alleged transgression was entirely caused by the situational urgency and unpredictable urgency that three (3) players unexpectedly contracted from Covid-19,” the newspapers said
“Although the unforeseen contraction of Covid-19 was not a justification for the transgression, it was a major mitigating factor that must have played a major role in the disciplinary committee imposing the lesser sanction legally available to it from deduct points from the offending club. “
It is not yet clear how the PSL will handle this latest development. Another court case is sure to derail the playoffs set to kick off on Tuesday.
How we got here
Polokwane City took the case to the High Court in May after the GladAfrica season on the pitch ended. In their brief, they explained the reasons for going to court.
“Polokwane took immediate action to challenge the price [of three points to Sekhukhune]. The effect of not settling it [the arbitrator’s decision] is that it sets a bad precedent for future litigation and Sekhukhune would unfairly benefit from it on the championship standings, ” the document said.
“By giving Sekhukhune three unearned points, the award unfairly benefits and advantage Sekhukhune over other teams in terms of ranking in the Championship Journal.”
PSL’s disciplinary committee found Polokwane City guilty of misconduct after failing to include five under-23 players in his squad of the day, as required by the league for second division teams.
As the Disciplinary Committee found City guilty and deducted the three points they got in their 1-0 win over Sekhukhune, they decided not to award those points to the opposing team, as had been done. in previous similar cases.
Sekhukhune objected to this and the case was re-examined by an arbitrator – Epstein – appointed by the South African Football Association. The referee ordered that the PSL award Sekhukhune the three points, which the league had not done until Judge Sutherland’s ruling.
Polokwane City’s lawsuit means the club have broken rule 25.4 of the PSL handbook. This section of the PSL Handbook states that “the decision of the referee will be final and binding and will be provided to the League by Safa”.
Polokwane City went to court despite the above.
PSL’s rules are also clear that its member clubs go to court to seek recourse:
“Any breach of this article will constitute a fault which will be dealt with according to the disciplinary procedures of the League League”, we read in article 26. DM