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PSL Makes Surprising Request In Sekhukhune Case

The Premier Soccer League’s latest request to SAFA has suggested that the promotion/relegation play-off saga is spiralling out of control!

It’s still not yet clear who will be crowned the GladAfrica Championship winners some two weeks after the final round of matches in the second tier were played, despite a ruling that awarded Sekhukhune United three points to all but guarantee them promotion.

On May 19, independent SAFA arbitrator Hilton Epstein ruled that Polokwane City be stripped of their victory against Sekhukhune in a match played in January due to their failure to have five u/23 players in their squad as per NSL rules.

Had the award been confirmed then, it would not have had any effect on the outcome of the title race and battle for promotion, but Sekhukhune were in a tight race for the championship with Royal AM when Epstein delivered his ruling.

The PSL, having paused the trophy handover when Royal finished top of the table on the final day of the season by a single point more than Sekhukhune, confirmed it was seeking legal advice and did not enforce the arbitral award.

Polokwane City then filed for an urgent application to have the judgement set aside before removing it from the court’s roll only to get a new date of June 11, and the PSL is joining the Limpopo-based outfit as a co-applicant!

Now, the Siya crew has seen a letter written by PSL legal representatives Webber Wentzel, requesting an arbitration panel to be convened on June 13 following a meeting held by all parties with the deputy Judge President regarding several court applications.

“The panel is to be arranged out of caution so that, in the event either or both the Epstein SC or Cassim SC award get set aside, there is a new panel available to hear and resolve both matters on an urgent basis (in case the court were to order a remittal). This is to ensure that the play-offs can take place on 15 June 2021,” read the letter from PSL lawyers.

June 13 was the initial date for the play-offs, but it’s believed this has been rescheduled to be played four days later.

One way to put it would be that the league is pre-empting the outcome of the pending case involving City and others who have joined in as co-applicants.

But in the event that Epstein’s award is reviewed and indeed set aside, as the PSL clearly believes that scenario is likely, the aggrieved party can still appeal the decision.

This, legal experts have told the Siya crew, can take months and not only delay the play-offs this season but the start of the 2021/22 campaign as well.  

Indications are that the league's executive committee was meeting on Friday to discuss the case further. 

Update: SAFA, also through the federation's attorneys, has since responded to the league and rejected the request to urgently appoint a new arbitration panel.  

Story by @superjourno

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