Polokwane City court application dismissed, making Sekhukhune NFD champions

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Sekhukhune United players display their new kit ahead of the 2020-21 season. File photo
Sekhukhune United players display their new kit ahead of the 2020-21 season. File photo
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Polokwane City’s application to the Johannesburg high court to have an arbitration overturned that deducted three points from them and awarded three to Sekhukhune United in the Glad Africa Championship has been dismissed.

The decision upholds the arbitration award by Hilton Epstein, SC. Legal representatives for Sekhukhune said that while Polokwane can still appeal, the court’s ruling means the Premier Soccer League (PSL) needs to apply the three points awarded to their client’s team in terms of the arbitration.

This will make Sekhukhune champions of the GladAfrica (National First Division, or NFD), with automatic promotion to the PSL.

Sekhukhune’s instructing attorney Karabo Mathang-Tshabuse said if the PSL does not apply the three points awarded to Sekhukhune, they will take the league to court to do so.

Having heard counsel on behalf of all parties on Friday, Gauteng deputy judge president Roland Sutherland on Saturday issued an order dismissing the application brought by Polokwane City to review the arbitration award given by Epstein on May 19, 2021.

Sutherland also ordered that costs incurred by Sekhukhune be borne by Polokwane and Royal AM jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the SA Football Association (Safa) are to bear their own costs.

“Polokwane City brought an application to review and set aside the award and this means that the award stands in law. The application to try to set aside has been dismissed and this is a competent finding in law and Sekhukhune United must be declared GladAfrica Championship champions by the league,” Mathang-Tshabuse said.

Last month, Sekhukhune filed an urgent application at the Johannesburg high court for the arbitration award that saw them become the GladAfrica Championship champions to be deemed final and binding.

The NFD campaign ended a few weeks ago but the PSL is yet to crown the second-tier champions because this case was pending.

This turn of events means that Sekhukhune, who were in their first season in the NFD, end higher than Royal AM on the final log, which must be updated as soon as possible.

It also means that Durban team Royal AM, who have not indicated if they will be appealing against the verdict, will have to go and fight for a place in the PSL during the promotion and relegation play-offs with Richards Bay and Chippa United.

The next stage in the appeal process for Royal or Polokwane would be to approach either the SA supreme court or the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

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