David Thidiela set for a dramatic return to football

David Thidiela Chairman of Black Leopards celebrates during the National First Division Promotion Playoffs on 30 May 2018 at Thohoyandou Stadium.
David Thidiela Chairman of Black Leopards celebrates during the National First Division Promotion Playoffs on 30 May 2018 at Thohoyandou Stadium.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The one-year ban imposed by the Premier Soccer League's Disciplinary Committee on Black Leopards owner and chairman David Thidiela over the emotionally charged tribal rant he directed at referee Victor Hlungwani has been overturned on appeal.

Thidiela’s ban‚ which he appealed and labelled as an “injustice” through his lawyer‚ has been lifted unconditionally and the hefty R1m fine that accompanied it was reduced drastically to R200‚000 with half suspended.

SA Football Association (Safa) spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi confirmed that Advocate SDK Mdladla‚ the chairperson of the Safa National Appeals Board‚ handed down the judgement that overturned Thidiela’s ban a few days ago.

“The issue has been dealt with and it is now closed and behind us‚” said Chimhavi on Wednesday.

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Advocate Eric Mabuza‚ who represented Thidiela at the hearing‚ hailed the outcome as “a complete win” for his client.

Thidiela lost his place on the PSL executive committee after the ban but Advocate Mabuza said the latest decision paves the way for the Leopards boss to resume his duties on the all powerful decision-making body.

“The ban was overturned completely‚” said Advocate Mabuza.

“He is very relieved and he can now focus on his team. We have always believed that the one-year ban was an injustice‚ hence we have challenged it all the way.

“The sentence or fine was reduced to R200‚000 (from R1m) with R100‚000 suspended.

"The one-year ban was completely lifted.

"He is back fully in charge now at the club and he was only fined R100‚000.”

PSL acting chief executive Mato Madlala confirmed that her office has received Thidiela's appeal hearing report.

"The PSL has indeed received the report.

"I will take the report to our executive committee meeting on the last Thursday of the month (July 31) to be deliberated upon by the exco.

"Until then‚ the League has no comment on the matter‚" Madlala told SowetanLIVE on Wednesday.

The fiery Leopards owner was in February banned from football for a year and slapped with a hefty Rm fine as punishment for the tirade he directed at referee Hlungwani last year.

The tirade included apparent threats and tribal references.

The PSL DC found him guilty of bringing the league into disrepute.

Thidiela’s outburst followed an Absa Premiership match between Leopards and Bloemfontein Celtic in Thohoyandou in September‚ a game his side lost 1-0.

Thidiela appealed the ruling in March and the matter was heard last week‚ after two previous postponements‚ by the Safa National Appeals Board‚ which overturned the ban.

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