What now for PSL after Ndoro case?

The Premier Soccer League finds itself in a terrible conundrum. After the South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of Ajax Cape Town on Monday in the ongoing saga regarding the eligibility of Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro, what now? Essentially, at this stage, time is the PSL’s greatest enemy.

Tendai Ndoro of Ajax Cape Town during the Ajax Cape Town morning training session at Ikamva, Cape Town on 24 January 2018 (©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix)

Judge Denise Fischer set aside the verdict of arbitrator William Mokhari and handed the Ndoro matter back to the Fifa Players’ Status Committee (PSC) to make a final ruling on the issue.

In Mokhari’s earlier verdict, he docked Ajax nine points, causing them to be dropped to last on the PSL log and relegated to the First Division.

Now, a High Court judge has declared his ruling to be of no consequence and Ajax are restored to their original position of 15th on the 16-team PSL log.

They are in the play-off position, which means that the play-offs which took place, and won by Black Leopards, is now null and void.

Importantly, Judge Fischer also emphasised that only the Fifa PSC has jurisdiction over the Ndoro case.

If so, a decision on the matter will take time.

If the play-offs have to be replayed, that, too, will take time. And, rest assured, Leopards will have something to say about having to go through a play-off competition again. (More court cases?). And, remember, that the new PSL season is just a month away. What now for the PSL? It’s a big, big problem.

In a statement, the PSL said it was still studying the judgement before responding more fully: “The PSL has noted the judgement handed down by Judge Fisher in the High Court.

“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 judgement 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.”

The Ndoro case has to do with the Zimbabwean striker having played for three clubs during the season, Orlando Pirates, Saudia Arabian club Al Faisaly and Ajax, which is against Fifa rules.

Ajax believed there are extenuating circumstances to Ndoro’s case, which is why they sought clarity from the PSL’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) on the player’s eligibility. The DRC said Ndoro can play.

The PSL appealed its own DRC and, subsequently, ever since, the matter has unravelled into one big mess: arbitration hearings and court cases, and now the High Court judgement in Ajax’s favour, with the judge ruling that Fifa make the final and binding decision.

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