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#NdoroGate: A timeline of the Ndoro, Ajax and PSL saga

The protracted and complex Tendai Ndoro saga has rumbled on for seven months and is in danger of delaying and affecting the start of the new Absa Premiership season, which is due to begin on 4 August.

FILE: Tendai Ndoro of Ajax Cape Town. Picture: Twitter/@ajaxcapetown

CAPE TOWN - The protracted and complex Tendai Ndoro saga has rumbled on for seven months and is in danger of delaying and affecting the start of the new Absa Premiership season, which is due to begin on 4 August.

The questions of his eligibility stem from the fact that he played for Orlando Proteas in August of 2017. He was then transferred to Saudi Arabian club Al Faisaly and made his debut for them in September that same year.

He left the Arab club in the January transfer window and then went on to make his debut for Ajax in January of 2018. This a breach of Fifa regulation Article 5.3, which states while a player may not play for more than two clubs in a season.

You can read a summarised timeline of the events leading up to the current court battle in South Gauteng High Court.

12 January: Tendai Ndoro debuts for Ajax Cape Town vs Platinum Stars.

20 January: Ndoro plays his second match for Ajax vs Cape Town City.

Notes: Premier Soccer League (PSL)/National Soccer League (NSL) become aware of Ndoro eligibility concerns – they advise Ajax not to field Ndoro.

The NSL can register Ndoro for a third club but he can’t play for the club under Fifa regulations, it is not the league's obligation to warn club.

26 January: Ajax and Ndoro bring urgent proceedings to the PSL Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC - Independent) hoping to clear the way for Ndoro to play in matches for the rest of the season.

Notes: Prior to DRC hearing, the NSL expressed concerns about the jurisdiction of DRC and whether it could rule on the Ndoro Matter – NSL felt it was a case for Fifa Players Status Committee (PSC).

31 January: DRC rules in favour of Ajax, allowing Ajax to field Ndoro – the DRC feels they are the correct body to rule on the Ndoro matter.

Notes: NSL immediately appeal DRC rulings to Safa Arbitration Tribunal which, by law, they are entitled to do.

Notes: Ndoro plays in another five matches despite disapproval from some clubs.

4 February: Ajax CT 1-1 Polokwane City

10 February: Ajax CT 0-1 Orlando Pirates

25 February: Ajax CT 0-1 Golden Arrows

28 February: Ajax CT 2-0 Supersport United

4 March: Ajax CT 0-1 Bloemfontein Celtic

26 March: NA Cassim SC was appointed the Safa arbitrator. The NSL appeal to DRC decision is served.

28 March: Cassim SC ruled in favour of NSL and upheld NSL appeal. He refers the matter to Fifa PSC because it was a status issue and not employment. He requests a resolution ASAP and suggested Ndoro not play.

Notes: NSL wanted the Ndoro dispute referred to Fifa PSC, instead Ajax goes to High Court to interdict Safa and Cassim SC’s ruling which suggested Ndoro not play.

3 April: In the High Court, Judge Sutherland dismisses Ajax interim relief interdict, but a new date will be set to review Sutherlands’ dismissal.

19 April: Review of dismissal is heard by Judge Unterhalter.

24 April: Judge Unterhalter believes Safa arbitrator Cassim SC did his administrative duties and is correct in his thinking regarding DRC ruling. Unterhalter also believes ultimate jurisdiction lies with Fifa PSC.

3 May: After, Unterhalter backed up Safa arbitrator Cassim SC’s decision. The NSL seek punishment/disciplinary charges for Ajax for fielding Ndoro in certain matches.

Notes: Advocate William Mokhari appointed arbitrator to hear the disciplinary charges brought forward by the NSL.

14 May: Mokhari gives his ruling on disciplinary charges. He finds Ajax and Ndoro guilty on all charges, he punishes Ajax for three games (Plat Stars, Polokwane and Supersport – lose 3-0) which means they are docked points and given a hefty financial fine. Ajax is docked seven points meaning they drop from 15th to 16th place, therefore automatic relegation. He also awards points to the three clubs.

16 May: PLAYOFF STARTS – Black Leopards, Jomo Cosmos and Platinum Stars.

16 May: Ajax launch urgent review of Mokhari’s decision at High Court and to interdict the playoffs. Judge Keightley dismissed Ajax’ urgent interdictory relief but acknowledged that urgency is needed for a resolution.

30 May: Black Leopards win playoffs and automatic promotion.

14-16 June: Judge Fisher to hear Ajax appeal of Mokhari’s ruling.

2 July: Fischer delivers judgment in favour of Ajax. She orders Mokahri’s award be set aside and makes playoff results invalid. She also orders that Fifa PSC must resolve this Ndoro eligibility issue.

Notes: Ajax accuse Mokhari of a material error of law which Fischer agrees with. Fischer also says Fifa PSC has sole jurisdiction. Because Ndoro played in Saudi Arabia, Fischer says there is an international element to the matter and only Fifa have expertise to resolve it.

Notes: Ajax reinstated to 15th place and promotion/relegation playoff results do not count.

Notes: Ajax and NSL blame each other for not going to Fifa PSC earlier, according to Fischer.

5 July: PSL Executive Committee have emergency meeting and decide they will appeal Fischer’s ruling.

12 July: NSL Board of Governors ratify decision to appeal Fischer’s ruling.

12 July: PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza is adamant the PSL season will begin on time.

17 July: Ajax state their intent to interdict the start of new season. They will also look to block the NSL appeal of Fischer’s ruling and want to make Fischer’s ruling effective immediately.

23 July: PSL release fixtures for 2018/2019 season. The fixtures do not include Ajax despite Fischer’s ruling which set aside Mokhari’s punishment.

24 July: High Court postpones Ajax interdict application until 26 July. The court will also hear NSL appeal to Fischer’s ruling on 26 July.

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