Playoffs disrupted by protests

SAFA Ekurhuleni's local football association's Super League play-offs were thrown into disarray at the weekend after protests from teams that Highlands Park had fielded defaulters in their bid for promotion to the Castle Regional League.

Four clubs, Ayobayo Academy, Barcelona, Simunye United and Callies even signed a memorandum they hoped to submit to the region saying their protests against Highlands were thrown out without being heard.

At issue is the fact that Highlands fielded players who were also registered with their Vodacom Second Division side, which "disadvantaged the other teams" in the playoffs.

They claimed Highlands also has a team in the Castle Regional League, Hfasa United, which should have ruled the team out of the playoffs in favour of whoever was second in the Eastern LFA, under which they were campaigning.

The four believe Highlands are only in the playoffs for the money they can make selling the status of one or the other team in the Castle league. But the chances of the protests yielding the desired results for the aggrieved parties are zilch.

Highlands' Mike Kelly says there is nothing amiss in what they did as a club.

"We have four senior teams and our players are in a position where they can be promoted or demoted. We have had a similar situation before and it went through all the Safa structures - protest, appeal and arbitration - where we got an award in our favour. That was following our game against Alberton in August 2008 and the award was given by Advocate DN Beasley SC," Kelly said.

Sowetan is in possession of a copy of the award.

Beasley said: "In my view, there is nothing in the rules which prevented Highlands from registering the players in both the Vodacom and Super Leagues.

"It was nowhere suggested that the players did not have a registration card issued by both leagues."

Job Mchunu, administrator at Safa Ekurhuleni, said the protests would still be heard.

A date for the final between Highlands and Eden Park Callies, which was called off due to the protests last Monday, will be set after the hearings.