Absa Premiership

Arbitration to blow the final whistle on City impasse

2017-09-17 06:30
John Comitis (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The impasse that has pitted Cape Town City against other Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs is set for arbitration.

The clubs are at odds with City over signing a sponsorship deal with a sports betting company, in defiance of league directives.

Following Thursday’s board of governors meeting, the league decided to send the matter directly to arbitration.

City Press has learnt that most of the clubs believe City should be brought to book for contravening and undermining the rules.

According to an insider, City could be docked points or face financial sanctions if found guilty.

City will face the disciplinary steps over their shirt sponsorship with SportPesa, which was allegedly not approved by the league.

The Cape Town club unveiled SportPesa as their title sponsor last month and wore the new branded jersey during their MTN8 quarterfinal encounter against Polokwane City on August 12.

A club official who was present at Thursday’s meeting said they were not happy with City for ignoring the standing moratorium on betting and gambling companies.

A few weeks ago, the PSL board of governors decided to seek a legal opinion on the matter.

According to a member, the opinion was not conclusive, hence the matter was referred to the disciplinary committee.

“In some areas, the counsel could not clearly establish if there was a contravention of the rules. Now we must prepare the charges, and the arbitrator will be able to hear both sides of the story and make an informed decision.”

Another member who was at the meeting said there was a brouhaha among club members accusing City of undermining the league’s rules.

The member said that, even though this was not documented, there was an agreement that if a club was approached by any betting or gambling company, they would apply to the league for permission to let it be a sponsor.

The league already turned down three clubs after approaches from betting companies.

“Interestingly, John Comitis [City chair] was part of the executive committee meeting that turned down one of those approaches,” said the source.

“The league must approve every sponsor that comes along, and this was not the case with City. The issue here is that all clubs can benefit from these kinds of arrangements, like with the broadcasting deal, instead of one or a few clubs, hence the chair [Irvin Khoza] was mandated to investigate the issue thoroughly, look at different possibilities and report back. But before he could give his feedback, one club has already benefited.”

PSL acting chief executive Mato Madlala said she could not comment on board matters.

Comitis neither answered calls nor respond to a text message.

Read more on:    cape town city  |  psl  |  john comitis  |  soccer
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