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COMMENT: PSL the biggest losers, but Ajax Cape Town are not so innocent

3:06 PM EDT 7/2/18
PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza
Had both parties understood the rules, this mess wouldn't have occurred. After all, the innocent clubs should never be affected, writes Ernest Makhaya

Ajax Cape Town were on Monday reinstated to the Premier Soccer League after the South Gauteng High Court Judge Denise Fisher ruled in their favour in the matter involving Tendai Ndoro's eligibility/ineligibility to play at the professional level this past season. 

Ndoro, who recently parted ways with the Urban Warriors following the club's decision not to renew his contract, played for three different clubs in a single season; something which Fifa rules prohibit. 

The matter has been referred back to the world's football governing body for intervention as Judge Fisher ruled that none of the authorities in South Africa, including the South African Football Association (Safa), has no jurisdiction to rule on the Ndoro matter.

This means only Fifa Players' Status Committee (PSC) can make ruling on the matter as it involves a club outside the country in Al-Faisaly of Saudi Arabia, which Ndoro signed for soon after the start of the last season from Orlando Pirates

While this can be seen as a huge victory for Ajax, it doesn't mean they are innocent, but the biggest loser here is the PSL, who failed dismally to do what was required of them when Ndoro was initially registered. 

The league should admit that they didn't read and understand the rules, and they only became aware of the said rules when the media brought the matter to their attention at the beginning of the year. 

Even then, they should have dealt with it before it became big to avoid the current situation which has thrown the entire league into dissaray. 

The mess that this case has created reflects badly on the PSL and the South African football administration as a whole as it raises eyebrows about the level of competency of some of the officials. 

Also, both stakeholders were ill-advised by their legal teams, but Ajax should have never used Ndoro for their official matches as soon as the PSL appealed PSL DC's decision to allow him to continue featuring for them because at the time, it was clear that it was never going to end well.

With these latest developments, the promotion/relegation play-off results have been nullified, meaning Black Leopards are not certain of their promotion to the PSL as yet despite their hard-earned points against both Platinum Stars and Jomo Cosmos. 

What's more embarrassing for the PSL is that they had already released a statement confirming that the new season will kick-off during the first week of Augusut 2018, but Monday's ruling could mean the delay to the start of the 2018/19 campaign. 

It is worth mentioning that the PSL can still appeal the court's decision to refer the matter to Fifa, who previously gave them the go ahead to deal with it back in February, but that could again come back to haunt them. 

This is a messy situation which will continue to put the PSL on the spotlight for many years to come even if they manage to survive this huge storm that's about to hit the South African football hard. 

Suggestions by some a section of fans to increase PSL clubs from 16 to 18 or 20 for the upcoming season appear to be gaining momentum, but that would require proper planning and most importantly, sponsors should be consulted before the league could even consider it. 

This means more games for the, while the four main sposors should dig deep into their own pockets for the administration mistakes of very few people who didn't do their job. It's unlikely that the sponsors would agree to cater for more teams a month before the start of the season just for the sake of it.

It would also mean cutting down on the number of cup competitions. Mind you, these sponsors have existing contracts with the league itself, and amending those contracts could take a while if this was to be put before the negotiating table.    

Instead of trying to play innocent, the PSL should man up and shoulder the blame and so is Ajax, who should have also read the rules before signing and playing Ndoro, because this matter doesn't only affect the two parties involved but a whole lot of teams, including Leopards, SuperSport United and AmaZulu

The majority of the players also don't know where their futures lie as they have to play a wait-and-see game on whether they will be plying their trade in the PSL or NFD next season.

If our league is really among the best in the world, this should have never happened, and therefore it should be sorted out as soon as possible to avoid keeping the entire nation in suspense, but whatever happens next, the innocent clubs should never be affected by the final ruling.