Royal AM throw spanner in the works for playoffs

Royal to challenge judge’s ruling in the Supreme Court

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Thabang Sibanyoni of Sekhukhune United challenged by Eden Nene of Polokwane City during the GladAfrica Championship football match between Sekhukhune United and Polokwane City at Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa.
Thabang Sibanyoni of Sekhukhune United challenged by Eden Nene of Polokwane City during the GladAfrica Championship football match between Sekhukhune United and Polokwane City at Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa.
Image: Gavin/BarkerBackpagePix

With Royal AM confirming they are heading to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), the Premier Soccer League (PSL) playoffs are unlikely to start tomorrow.

On Saturday, Gauteng deputy judge president Roland Sutherland dismissed Polokwane City’s application to review the arbitration award given by SA Football Association (Safa) arbitrator Hilton Epstein.

Sutherland’s ruling resulted in Sekhukhune United earning automatic promotion, while Royal had to settle for the second spot, meaning they will battle it out with Richards Bay and Chippa United in the playoffs. 

After the ruling on Saturday, the PSL updated the log and released a statement declaring Sekhukhune as GladAfrica Championship champions, while confirming the playoff dates.

Yesterday a Royal official, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed they were appealing against Sutherland’s verdict. “Yes, we’re going to [the] SCA. We won’t play the playoffs until we hear what [the] SCA says," said the informant.

Speaking at a gala dinner organised by eThekwini municipality to celebrate the successes of Durban sides AmaZulu, Arrows and her club on Friday, Royal president Shauwn Mkhize made it clear they would challenge Sutherland’s ruling should it favour Sekhukhune.

“Whatever happens, we are champions. If we don't win the case, the league won't start on time," noted Mkhize last Friday, a day before Sutherland’s verdict.

After Polokwane’s failure to comply with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Under-23 rule in their January 2 match against Sekhukhune, which they won 1-0, Epstein ruled that Rise and Shine had forfeited the tie to Sekhukhune with a 3-0 scoreline and gave them a R100,000 suspended fine.

Before later being joined by Royal and PSL as co-applicants, Polokwane filed a court application for Epstein’s verdict to be reviewed and set aside, arguing, among other points, that it was “in the interest of all the teams in the GladAfrica Championship and also in line with preventing bad precedents”.

Acting PSL CEO  Mato Madlala could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Playoff fixtures (all at 3pm)* before Royal’s decision to appeal

Tomorrow: Bay v Royal, Umhlathuze Sports Stadium

Friday: Chippa v Bay, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

June 21: Royal v Chippa, Chatsworth Stadium

June 24: Royal v Bay, Chatsworth Stadium

June 27: Bay v Chippa, Umhlathuze Sports Stadium

June 30: Chippa v Royal, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

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