Cape Town — The Premier Soccer League (PSL) are masters of procrastination, and it will be no surprise if, at Wednesday's press conference, it did not address the Kaizer Chiefs saga, which has become a ticking time bomb.
In mid-December, the PSL issued a statement saying it had declined Kaizer Chiefs' request to postpone their matches for December. It added there would be a press conference on the 5th of January 2022, and until such time the PSL will not be available to comment on the matter.
Chiefs deemed the decision to decline the request as "unjustifiable". They have taken legal advice and will appeal to national football's mother body, the South African Football Association (SAFA) or the PSL's Dispute Resolution Committee. It is clear, Chiefs will not take the decision lying down.
Early in December, Chiefs suffered a severe Covid-19 outbreak that, initially, affected more than 35 players and technical staff members. As a result, Chiefs could not field teams for matches against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows.
Chiefs said that by calling off their matches, it was adhering to health standards set by the national authorities.
The PSL decided over a year ago, Covid-19 cannot be a reason for failing to fulfil a fixture. One club was punished after it defaulted. Now that Chiefs had two no-shows, and since the PSL had already set a precedent, the logical outcome would be to award City and Arrows 3-0 wins, rather than grant Chiefs chances to play the matches sometime in the future.
Premier Soccer League chairperson Irvin Khoza aired his thoughts on the matter last month. He said, in part: “I think it is very important that the public expects a response from the PSL on the matter that affects Kaizer Chiefs.
“It is a matter that was dealt by with the football department. It has been escalated to the executive committee. It requires a lot of attention to detail to adjudicate this matter.
“We are a rules-based organisation. Everything is easy because we just refer to the manual or the rulebook for answers. We will apply our minds, especially in a matter that has aired a lot of debate on life and livelihoods."
Reading between the lines, it would seem the matter is hardly "easy" as Khoza points out. By this time (ahead of Wednesday's conference), the matter would have been up for discussion by the executive committee, whose number includes the chairpersons of City and Arrows. How can they not agree to any other decision than be awarded 3-0 wins after both clubs pitched at the match venues, regardless of Chiefs’ prior notice that they were unable to play?
What has come to light is that the PSL's regulations regarding the coronavirus pandemic do not include a 'Force Majeure' clause. With more or less 40 casualties, it sounds like a solid case of 'Force Majeure' since they were physically unable to field a team for two matches.
The last time the PSL held a press conference, it turned out to be an anti-climax of preposterous proportions! The football fraternity was waiting to hear the PSL address several burning issues, but instead, Khosa shared details of a new tournament.
As an inveterate procrastinator, this reputation has caught up with the PSL, have now gone six seasons with ab acting CEO and with no final decision on that matter insight. Now a host of 2021 issues will have to be sorted in 2022.
Over time, the PSL have hardly covered itself in glory when dealing with issues that should have been dealt with timeously.
*In January, last year Polokwane City defaulted in a match. It should have been a straightforward outcome but after the outcome was delayed by several months, it became a massive issue, which to this day remains unsolved, and has ended in the lap of CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).
*In the 2018 season. the Tendai Ndoro debacle carried on for many months after it was discovered that he had played for three different clubs in a calendar year. After Ajax took the matter to court, the automatic relegation was reversed they were restored to 15th in the league. Much later, Ajax was later relegated, after the PSL deducted seven points.
*In February 2017, Orlando Pirates fans invaded the Loftus pitch, forcing match officials to stop the game for almost an hour before resumption. The matter was only dealt with in 2018.
*In 2019, Mamelodi Sundowns fielded Wayne Arendse against Bidvest Wits even though he was not on the team sheet for the match. This was due to an injury to Thapelo Morena, who had initially been in the starting line-up for the match. The case dragged on for seven months before the PSL made a ruling. Instead of Sundowns being docked points for fielding an ineligible player‚ they were only handed a monetary fine.