THE South African Premier Soccer League is set for more challenges after a High Court judge yesterday ruled in favour of Ajax Cape Town to be reinstated in the league and effectively nullified the results of the promotion play-offs. The Urban Warriors had been relegated after they were docked nine points for using Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro “illegally” in the final matches of their campaign last season.
But Judge Denise Fisher yesterday ruled that only FIFA have the jurisdiction to rule on the matter.
The judgment set aside the initial ruling from SAFA Arbitrator William Mokhari, meaning the club should be reinstated back to 15th place on the ABSA Premiership log standings for the 2017-18 season.
Ajax CEO Ari Efstathiou said the Urban Warriors, who have since parted ways with Ndoro because of the issue, welcomed the judgment.
“Ajax Cape Town are naturally very pleased with Judge Fisher’s ruling to set aside Advocate Mokhari’s award.
“The club will make further comment once full clarity on Judge Fisher’s judgment is received from its legal team,” said Efstathiou.
Ajax were found guilty of fielding Ndoro after issues were raised over his eligibility to play for them under a section in FIFA Rules that prohibit a player to feature for three clubs in a single season.
Ndoro played for Orlando Pirates and then went on to sign for a Saudi Arabian side Al Faisaly before retracing his footsteps back to the PSL to join Ajax.
This judgment means the points that were awarded to Platinum Stars‚ SuperSport United and Polokwane City are returned to Ajax‚ which moves them from the bottom of the league‚ and automatic relegation‚ back to 15th place.
It also means AmaZulu return to the top eight‚ with SuperSport United slipping out of the top half for the first time in their history.
The PSL find themselves in a quandary and could be forced to replay the Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs‚ that were won by Black Leopards‚ or expand the league to 18 teams for next season‚ with four relegated at the end of the campaign.
But Leopards could be next in line to mount a court challenge if there is a forced replay of the play-offs and this may delay the start of the new ABSA Premiership season‚ which is set down for August 3.
The PSL yesterday said they were still considering the contentious ruling by the South Gauteng High Court.
“The Premier Soccer League has noted the judgment handed down by Judge Fisher in the Johannesburg High Court today.
“The relief that was sought from the Court was the setting aside of Advocate Mokhari SC’s misconduct award together with orders that Ajax Cape Town should be on the 15th position on the final League table, and that the Promotion Play-offs be set aside.
“Judge Fisher set aside Advocate Mokhari’s award but declined to hand down the other relief sought.
“It is necessary for the League to properly consider the meaning and effect of the judgement before making any further comment on the matter.
“The judgment and advice of the League’s advisors will be considered by the PSL Executive Committee and the appropriate steps will be taken in due course,” read a statement from PSL.