Legal spat: PSL coach brought alcohol to team hotel in bio-bubble

25 May 2022 - 13:28
By Staff Reporter
Swallows FC coach Dylan Kerr and Baroka FC are involved in a bitter legal spat .
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Swallows FC coach Dylan Kerr and Baroka FC are involved in a bitter legal spat .

Baroka FC are accusing former coach Dylan Kerr of breaking club rules by consuming liquor in the team hotel at a camp in a bio-bubble during the country’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations in 2020.

Kerr and relegated Limpopo club Baroka are involved in a bitter legal spat over finances and alleged misconduct at the SA Football Association (Safa) Appeals Board.

Kerr‚ now coach of Swallows FC‚ is demanding R6.1mn from Bakgaga for the unfair termination of his contract. His legal representatives say Baroka have not established how he brought the club into disrepute.

Those details are contained in papers‚ which SowetanLIVE sister publication TimesLIVE has seen‚ submitted to the Appeals Board and PSL Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC).

Baroka are appealing the R3.5m order they were handed by the DRC to compensate Kerr after his dismissal in November 2020.

Among the charges by Baroka are that Kerr allegedly brought alcohol to the team hotel during the club’s bio-bubble camp on October 24 2020 and offered for the technical team to drink with him during working hours.

Kerr’s legal representatives argue the coach broke no law of the country‚ club or league rule by doing that.

Kerr served as Baroka coach from late December 2019 until his dismissal on November 23 2020. He steered Baroka to 14th‚ avoiding the promotion relegation playoffs by a position in the 2019-20 Premiership.

That season saw a shutdown of football at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 and ended in a bio-safe environment in September 2020.

Documents from the DRC ruling say while Baroka’s internal disciplinary committee did not find “[Kerr] guilty of insubordination”‚ it “ found him guilty of putting the club into disrepute in that he went on national television and said there was interference [in coaching decisions]‚ for which he later apologised”.

“He was also found guilty of using the ‘F’ word referring to his assistant coach in front of players. He was also found in the wrong for bringing and consuming alcohol while he and the team were at the bio-bubble.

“[He was] also found guilty for not ensuring the team ended in eighth position [in the 2019-20 Premiership]‚ as per his contract.”

Kerr’s lawyers’ defence to the allegation related to alcohol was that the coach had broken no law.

“It is common cause that the employee [Kerr] drank alcohol with some staff members in the hotel where the club was staying. This was after dinner and therefore after hours.

“Team physio Patrick Munzhelele testified that after dinner the coach said the technical team should remain behind and thereafter asked them to meet him in his room. When they left the dinner table they went to his room‚ and he offered them beer.

“Munzhelele said he did not drink beer‚ but whiskey‚ which [Kerr] said he would arrange for him. Later [Kerr] came to Munzhelele’s room and offered him a glass of whiskey‚ which he took. He did not drink it though. [Kerr] left after he had given [Munzhelele] the glass of whiskey.

“When the club was in the bio-bubble‚ the country was in level 2 of the lockdown. If an employer wants to charge an employee with any act of misconduct‚ they must demonstrate the rule that is supposedly broken.

“The club seems to suggest that drinking of alcohol was prohibited while the club was in the bio-bubble‚ due to the lockdown rules and the rules of the league. The club has not produced proof of any written or unwritten rule of such a prohibition on consuming alcohol in a private space. None of the charges put to the employee have been proven.”

Safa will provide a date‚ venue and time for the hearing in due course.

Kerr was reached on his cellphone but said he could not comment.

- TimesLIVE