End-of-season sanction could cost Sundowns dearly

Even if high-flying Mamelodi Sundowns successfully defend their league title this season, they are at risk of forfeiting it immediately. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is expected to announce sanctions against the club at the end of the season — less than four games away.

Sundowns were found guilty by the PSL of having fielded an ineligible player during their game against Bidvest Wits on October 8, a game that ended in a 1-1 draw. Sundowns allowed defender Wayne Arendse to play as a late substitute even though he was not included in the team list, contravening Rule 16.3.2 of the National Soccer League handbook.

But tardiness in issuing the verdict, coupled with a possible further delay in sentencing, could deter Downs’ mission of defending the league title.

Sundowns are second on the PSL log table with 50 points, three behind log leaders Pirates. Pirates’ boss Irvin Khoza doubles as PSL chairman. (We’re not implying anything, just pointing out facts.)

This means that if the sanction, typically a points deduction, is issued at the end of the season, it will be too late for the Brazilians to make up the points, and the team in second place will automatically lift the trophy.

Downs coach Pitso Mosimane is hopeful the sanction will be meted out before the end of the season.

“I don’t know whether they are going to take a point because we drew [against Wits] or give Wits three points in a match they didn’t win. A verdict will probably arrive two matches before the league finishes, so it’s a reality,” said Mosimane.

Club spokesperson Thulani Thuswa did not respond when asked whether Sundowns would appeal the decision should the sanction visibly deprive the team of a league title.

PSL prosecutor Nande Becker argued Sundowns were partly responsible for the delay. “It was a complicated matter in a sense that the argument raised by Sundowns was one that required some consideration,” said Becker.

Khoza insists delays are not always the league’s fault. “In some cases, clubs ask for postponements. The clubs get further legal minds and they want certain particulars. Every club has a right to be given an opportunity when they ask for postponement. All postponements are discussed and are agreed afterwards with the prosecutor,” he explained.

Khoza, whose club is also in the running for the crown, denied that the decision to delay the issuing of the finding, and the further adjournment in the sentencing, were influenced by bias.

“There’s a case in question about one club who are saying that the matter is now being heard at the end of the season because someone must get an advantage. [That’s] nonsense, man,” he said.

At the end of last season, Ajax Cape Town were in a similar predicament, in a case they eventually lost in the high court.

At the end of the season, they were found to have contravened Fifa rules by fielding Tendai Ndoro, who had played for three clubs in the season.

Fifa rules stipulate that a player cannot play for more than two clubs in a season, and Ndoro had played for Pirates, Saudi Arabian side Al Faisaly and Ajax.

Ajax fielded him against Platinum Stars, Polokwane City, SuperSport United, Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates. All results from those games were declared losses, with Ajax being docked nine points and, at 13th on the table, losing their PSL status.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Siyabonga Ngcangisa
Siyabonga Ngcangisa
Siya co-presented at South Africa’s third largest radio station Umhlobo Wenene FM and has worked for publications such as Move! Magazine and DRUM Magzine.
Advertisting

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories