Royal, Bay told to be ready to play today

Match officials already assigned for playoff match

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Royal AM chairman and player Andile Mpisane and club owner and mom Shauwn Mkhize and the players were not awarded the GladAfrica Championship trophy after a court action.
Royal AM chairman and player Andile Mpisane and club owner and mom Shauwn Mkhize and the players were not awarded the GladAfrica Championship trophy after a court action.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

By yesterday, Royal AM appeared uncertain if they would play their first playoff match away to Richards Bay today, perhaps waiting to see if Gauteng deputy judge president Roland Sutherland grants them leave to appeal or not.

On Saturday, Sutherland ruled in favour of Sekhukhune United, dismissing Polokwane City's application to have arbitrator Hilton Epstein's decision to award Babina Noko three points reviewed. Sutherland’s ruling resulted in Sekhukhune earning automatic promotion to the Premiership, leaving Royal second in the GladAfrica table. However, Royal asked Sutherland to allow them to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Quizzed if they were going to honour today’s match against Bay and whether Sutherland had given them the green light to appeal, Royal CEO Sinky Mnisi said: “I’ve got no comment. The court will decide. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow [referring to today's game]." 

Meanwhile, one of the Richards Bay players anonymously revealed Royal’s uncertainty hadn’t disrupted their plans for the tie. “On our side the game is on… no-one has told us otherwise. We’re not distracted by what’s happening and we’re ready for the game," said the Bay player.

SA Football Association (Safa) head of referees Abdul Ebrahim confirmed they had already assigned match officials for the game between Bay and Royal, billed for Umhlathuze Sports Stadium today (3pm).

“We’ve availed our officials for this game. The referees are always going to be ready. What happens inside the courts is not ours. After the fixture was released, we just assigned referees accordingly," said Ebrahim.

While PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala could not be reached for comment yesterday the league, via law firm Webber Wentzel, made it clear they expect Royal to honour the playoffs or they’ll be sanctioned according to the handbook.

“Royal AM is advised to comply with all of the pre-match requirements and to play in the matches as scheduled. If Royal AM fails to appear for the matches‚ any harm it suffers‚ in accordance with the provisions of the NSL handbook‚ will be harm of Royal AM's own making," said one of the extracts in the two-page letter by the league’s lawyers.

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