Drama as Royal pitch, then ditch playoffs encounter

Chippa likely to be awarded three points

Neville Khoza Journalist
General Views during the 2020/21 Promotion Playoff game between Royal AM and Chippa United at Chatsworth Stadium.
General Views during the 2020/21 Promotion Playoff game between Royal AM and Chippa United at Chatsworth Stadium.
Image: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

Royal AM stunned the SA football fraternity yesterday by abandoning their playoff game against Chippa United just minutes before it was due to kick off at Chatsworth Stadium.

In what is now becoming a deepening crisis between the Shwann Mkhize-owned Royal and the PSL, the club had initially indicated they would not honour the match but made a late switch to pitch, only to depart the Durban venue without kicking a ball.

Television pictures showed Chippa taking the field on their own while Royal staff packed their bags and their bus departed. Two luxury cars, said to belong to the club hierarchy, were also pictured speeding out of the venue. 

Chippa, meanwhile, took to the pitch and did all the pregame procedures, and referee Thando Ndzandzeka blew his whistle to indicate the start of the match. The Gqeberha club will now in all likelihood be awarded the three points and should be clear of the playoffs mini-log, having won their first game over Richards Bay at the weekend.

Mabuza Attorneys, the law firm representing Royal, issued a statement and explained the sudden U-turn by the club, saying the playoffs remain “illegitimate”.

“The conduct of the NSL in commencing and/or continuing with the playoffs is far worse than it was on 13 June 2021, when we demanded that it should not commence with the playoffs,” read the statement.

“That time around the NSL has been confirmed to have been constitutionally delinquent in its removal of Royal AM from the top position. This simply means that Sekhukhune United should be playing in the playoffs and not Royal AM.

“There is, accordingly, no reason in law or logic why Royal AM must participate in illegitimate playoffs, which are based on the declared unlawful, contemptuous and unconstitutional conduct of the NSL.

“Accordingly, we seek an undertaking by 15h00 today [3pm yesterday] that the NSL will not repeat or continue with its unconstitutional conduct and that it will call off the playoffs, failing which we hold instructions once again to approach the high court on an urgent basis for the appropriate relief.”

The PSL had not reacted but it was expected to release a statement later, as the farce, which could have a bearing on the start of next season, continues unabated

Royal CEO Sinky Mnisi said there was no way they were going to play despite being at the stadium as they believed they had a strong case against the league.

“Some people decided to go to the game but there was no way we were going to play the match,” Mnisi insisted to Sowetan yesterday.

“We won’t play until we get to the Supreme Court.”

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