Ertugral explains why he continues to play Ndoro despite the obvious risk

Ajax Cape Town striker Tendai Ndoro celebrates with his head coach Muhsin Ertugral during the Absa Premiership match against Platinum Stars at Cape Town Stadium on January 12, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Ajax Cape Town striker Tendai Ndoro celebrates with his head coach Muhsin Ertugral during the Absa Premiership match against Platinum Stars at Cape Town Stadium on January 12, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images

Ajax Cape Town coach Mushin Ertugral has said that his club are only following the instructions of the Premier Soccer League’s dispute resolution chamber by continuing to field Tendai Ndoro.

Ndoro‚ signed by Ajax in late December‚ has helped the battling Urban Warriors look far more competitive in the Zimbabwean’s four league and one cup appearances.

However‚ an appeal by the Premier Soccer League against a decision by their own dispute resolution chamber clearing Ndoro as eligible still hangs over the player and his club.

Ndoro has been at the centre of a DRC‚ and now Safa arbitration‚ dispute regarding a Fifa rule that a player can be registered for at most three clubs in a season‚ but only turn out for two.

He played a lone game for Orlando Pirates in August‚ then signed and played for Saudi Arabian club Al Faisaly‚ before signing for Ajax.

The DRC cleared Ndoro as eligible on January 31.

However‚ the PSL soon announced their intention to appeal‚ under advice from Fifa‚ and wrote to Ajax asking the club not to field Ndoro in that Thursday evening’s 3-0 league win against Pirates‚ which the Cape club ignored.

“I think‚ the DC – there’s always an interpretation issue. And it’s out of my hands‚” Ertugral said.

“The DC has ruled. Remember we have spoken to the association (league)‚ and the association told us not to use him for the Free State Stars game (where Ajax complied on January 26).

“And later on it was the DC that told us‚ yes you can use him. So we used him.

“So in the end we will see. It’s out of (our hands) … obviously in the hands of (the powers that be).

“And‚ I think‚ hopefully‚ they know what they’re doing.”

The interpretation issue Ertugral is referring to‚ TimesLIVE has gathered‚ revolves around an exception provided in article 5.3 of Fifa’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

The rule states: “Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season.

"During this period‚ the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.

"As an exception to this rule‚ a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season … .”

The DRC is believed to have interpreted the Saudi league as overlapping with South Africa’s‚ even if it is only a two or three-day overlap.

Barely any league in the world runs to exactly the same days‚ so that interpretation would leave the exception in the Fifa regulation nonsensical.

The rule clearly provides the example that the overlap should be significant‚ such as between southern and northern hemisphere seasons.

And given how interpretation of rules by lawyers and legal experts can vary‚ and how Fifa have advised the PSL that‚ by their interpretation‚ the DRC got their ruling wrong‚ Ajax still seem to be gambling a lot continuing to field Ndoro.

X