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Irvin Khoza: PSL pushing DC case that can disrupt promotion playoffs to arbitration

Irvin Khoza (chairman) of the PSL during the Premier Soccer League press conference at PSL Headquarters on April 09, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Irvin Khoza (chairman) of the PSL during the Premier Soccer League press conference at PSL Headquarters on April 09, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

There is a disciplinary case that has the potential to disrupt the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) promotion/relegation playoffs that will be rushed to arbitration to not have an adverse affect‚ PSL chairman Irvin Khoza revealed on Friday.

Speaking in a press conference where the draw was made for the September 6 to September 21 playoffs‚ Khoza said PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala had been tasked with going to the SA Football Association (Safa) to arrange the arbitration‚ and it is set to be heard on Monday.

Khoza did not want to reveal the identity of the club – believed to be from the GladAfrica Championship (National First Division‚ or NFD) – involved.

“All the teams in the [biologically safe] bubble who are in the playoffs will remain in the bubble until the finalisation of the playoffs. Our licence and permission we got from the minister [Nathi Mthethwa] was that we can play until September 21‚” Khoza said.

“Also ... it has come to our notice‚ reported to us in the executive committee yesterday‚ that there is a case that has been outstanding for some time. That case might cause complications depending on the facts.

“ … If there are issues there it is important they be dealt with before we go to the playoffs because we don’t want drama.

“And that’s why the executive committee took a decision yesterday to empower the CEO … to short circuit the system by applying a section in the handbook which empowers the CEO to take the matter straight to arbitration.

“As the exco we have instructed the CEO to communicate with Safa‚ which she has done. I am told the arbitration is going to be sitting on Sunday.

“And all the interested parties have been informed of that matter to make sure they have prepared themselves.

“Because the matter has been on the table. It has been to the DC. In fact it took a two-pronged approach – a protest matter‚ and another in the DC.

“And the matter in the two bodies has not been finalised‚ partly because of Covid‚ and partly the delay‚ which the exco felt is going to be unreasonable for us not to give direction on this matter.

“Because of the seriousness of what is happening in the GladAfrica‚ we must make sure that we don’t have any controversy.”

Asked which club or clubs are involved‚ Khoza responded: “I thought I must protect the clubs. Because there is too much tension for the fixtures on Sunday.”

The NFD final round on Sunday will decide which of leaders Swallows FC and Ajax Cape Town – both on 54 points‚ with the Birds ahead by a single strike on goal difference – will be champions and automatically promoted‚ and who reaches the playoffs.

The second‚ third and fourth-placed NFD teams meet the second-last Premiership side in the promotion/relegation playoffs.