Mark Gleeson

Can the PSL run SA Football?

2010-02-22 07:08
Mark Gleeson
Mark Gleeson

Mamelodi Sundowns have been done a hard turn by the Premier Soccer League.

The decision to force them to complete their match against Moroka Swallows two goals down after 35 minutes has cost them a decent shot at the title and again raised questions about the league’s ability to run the South African game with consistency and an even hand.

Wednesday’s match was stopped by floodlight failure caused by a heavy rainstorm. The league rules state clearly that if rain and other natural events cause a game to be stopped, it must be replayed from the start.

Floodlight failure, or any other similar stoppage caused by unnatural events, does not have the same provision. Instead games must be resumed from where they left off and be played within 48 hours.
That makes perfect sense, of course, because otherwise you’d have clubs, who find themselves in a pickle, suddenly switching off the lights to get themselves a replay.

But what if the lights go down because the rain is pounding down so hard, the water seeps into the pylon and electricity circuit board, causing the lights to trip?

This is not my hypothesis but that made by the match commissioner on duty last Wednesday. He gave this explanation live on TV.

So what then caused the stoppage – nature or man? The match commissioner left the question completely grey and given such doubt, the PSL were patently wrong, particularly given Sundowns’ precarious battle for the title, to make such an emphatic decision.

In December when Sundowns’ game against Santos was called off it was both rain, lightening and floodlight failure that caused the abandonment.

Yet, with Sundowns incidentally a goal to the good, that game did not resume from where it left off.
The league ruled rather that natural causes had caused the abandonment, and made the two clubs play again. On Sunday, two months later, they eventually played out a goalless draw.

In retrospect, this was the wrong decision, or if it was correct, it set a precedent that the PSL should have followed this week. But within one season, they have made two completely different decisions given the same set of circumstances.

Inconsistency in judging cases is quite clearly a problem. Take two other recent cases as examples:

At the start of the season, Moroka Swallows assistant coach Zeca Marques, standing in for the yet to be appointed Rainer Zobel, was late for a pre-match television interview. He got a R50 000 fine for breaching the league’s media rules.

Yet Jomo Cosmos were fined R10 000 for playing a defaulter. Defender Ousmane Berthe should have sat out three games in a row after being sent off for a second time this season. Cosmos were unaware of this change in the rule and kept him out for only two games. He played in the game against Platinum Stars – a game he was supposed to miss. Cosmos lost the game, but they should have been docked points and fined heavily given that using a defaulter is among football’s most heinous crimes. But all they got was a slap on the wrist.

Essentially the PSL are saying it is OK to play the occasional defaulter but don’t dare be late to talk to the telly! Plainly ridiculous.

Mark Gleeson is an award winning television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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