Johannesburg - For years now, some of us have been pointing out that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) lends itself to exploitation and a serious conflict of interest.
However, we have been dismissed as prophets of doom and called all sorts of other names.
It cannot be right that a club owner (called chairman or president as these okes love giving themselves titles) is also chairman of the league.
This lends itself to a conflict of interest when the individual’s club is involved.
Then you have the board of governors (BOG) (the supreme decision-making body of the PSL) made up of 32 individuals who are the 16 Absa Premiership club owners, plus an equal number of their National First Division counterparts. From the BOG, the membership then elects the chairman and six other members to form the executive committee.
The current exco is made up of Irvin Khoza (chairman), Kaizer Motaung (Kaizer Chiefs), Mato Madlala (Golden Arrows), Stanley Matthews (SuperSport United), David Thidiela (Black Leopards), Jose Ferreira (Bivest Wits), Dr Rejoice Vakashile Simelane (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Khumbulani Konco (Bloemfontein Celtic).
Despite arguments on how right this structure is, the current chaos caused by the Ajax Cape Town/Tendai Ndoro saga has once more brought the conflict of interest issue into sharp focus.
It started with Orlando Pirates lodging a protest during their league match against The Urban Warriors over the eligibility of Ndoro to play on January 31.
Ajax had signed Ndoro from Saudi Arabian outfit Al Faisaly who had bought the striker from Pirates, all in the same season.
The protest was that Ndoro was ineligible to play for Ajax as they were his third club in a single season, and this was against Fifa statutes.
One of the major questions that should have been asked at the time was: Why did the PSL not alert Ajax of this discrepancy when they registered Ndoro?
All professional players are registered with the PSL and clubs must produce all the relevant documents to register a player. Did the PSL not do this in the case of Ndoro?
Why was this only pointed out to Ajax by Pirates, whose chairman also happens – by chance – to be the chairman of the same PSL?
Were Ajax left exposed so this could be raised at an opportune time?
Let’s park it there.
And then when the first ruling supporting Ajax came out, Pirates and the PSL – whose chairman is the same person – were the first to appeal.
Again, we have been told how independent the disciplinary committee (DC) and the dispute resolution chamber (DRC) are, however in many people’s eyes they remain PSL structures and it doesn’t help that all their decisions are announced via the league’s media department.
So the bottom line was that the two appeals were from two organisations with one common denominator: they have the same chairman. Later joining the fray was advocate Norman Arendse – a highly respected silk and sports administrator – who started representing Ajax once the matter went to court.
I also have a serious problem with his involvement in this matter.
You see, the legal eagle is a long-serving national executive committee member of the South African Football Association (Safa), this country’s football governing body.
The PSL is a “special member” of Safa. All matters that have been exhausted at the DC and DRC level are referred to the appeal’s board, after which the matter can be referred for arbitration.
The appeals board falls under Safa’s jurisdiction and it is also Safa who appoints an arbitrator.
So, Arendse’s involvement meant that he was now at the centre of a matter involving members (PSL, Pirates and Ajax) of the same organisation he serves at the highest level.
Tell me if there is no conflict in all the above.
And we wonder why our football is in such a mess.
Some people wonder why over the years that I have been covering the Beautiful Game, I have been tempted time and again to revisit the 1986 Temptations ditty It’s a Fine Mess.
Wonder no more!
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