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Ajax still in dark on PSL's next move

PSL was plunged into disarray, once more, when Judge Denise Fischer set aside Safa arbitrator William Mokhari’s decision to dock Ajax 7 points for fielding Tendai Ndoro in the Absa Premiership.

Tendai Ndoro. Picture: @ajaxcapetown/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Ajax Cape Town chairperson Ari Efstathiou has told EWN Sport that compromise is the only way to finding a resolution that will satisfy all parties, as uncertainty regarding the league status plagues a handful of professional clubs in South Africa.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) was plunged into disarray once more when Judge Denise Fischer on Monday set aside South African Football Association (Safa) arbitrator William Mokhari’s decision to dock Ajax Cape Town seven points for fielding the ineligible Tendai Ndoro in the Absa Premiership.

The judgment meant that the Urban Warriors were reinstated into the PSL at 15th place and the results of the recent playoffs were null and void.

Therefore, Black Leopards, who won the right to play in the PSL next season after beating Platinum Stars and Jomo Cosmos in the playoffs, are suddenly in the dark as to where exactly they will be playing football next year.

The ball is in the PSL’s hands now on the way forward and they’ve allegedly called for an emergency meeting of the executive committee on Thursday, 5 January.

Efstathiou wants common sense to be used in the PSL’s next decision, which will have ramifications in both the PSL and National First Division (NFD).

“The only way out of this mess is to find a compromising solution that is logical and fair to everyone. I’m hoping that the PSL is going to come up with a sensible solution.”

Talks of expanding the league from 16-18 clubs have been swirling around since Monday after Judge Fischer’s decision at the South Gauteng High Court.

Efstathiou agreed this could be a possible solution to a complex problem.

“It’s one of the solutions that are probably more feasible because I cannot see a replay of the playoffs as viable. And to be frank, even if we went to Players Status Committee assuming that we were found guilty, which is only an assumption, then we would go back to the DC (Disciplinary Committee), that DC would have to find us 100% guilty on all the charges.”

Although the decision was a major win for Ajax, the PSL hold all the cards in terms of the way forward, hence Efstathiou is not getting ahead of himself.

“I think we need to be cautious, I think we need to be positive. We are feeling much better after Judge Fischer’s judgment on Monday. We feel vindicated and we should be playing in the playoffs. The least we should be getting is a chance to play in the playoffs and keep our position in the PSL.”

The saga surrounding Ndoro has been since January, and the lack of direction from the PSL in the matter is impacting clubs transfer policies ahead of the new season which begins in August.

Efstathiou says he can’t make transfer decisions because of the uncertainty surrounding their status.

“This is a problem with the playoffs, contracts expire on 30 June and you can’t extend for a week or two, it gets extended for a season. We obviously wanted to make major changes this year because we didn’t have the best of seasons last year.

"We are in the throes of major changes but obviously, this disruption doesn’t help. What do we do? Do we prepare for playoffs? Do we prepare for NFD? Do we prepare for PSL? It’s extremely difficult for us and of course, we need some direction. The longer we wait, the players get snapped up by other clubs.”

Meanwhile, the chairperson of Fifa Players Status Committee, Raymond Hack, says the matter should have been dealt with much earlier.

“It should never have got to this in the first place. Maybe clarity should have been sought from the proper channels right in the beginning as to whether he was eligible, not take a chance. They (PSL) should have resolved this a lot earlier than this.”