It was back-to-back no-shows from defiant National First Division (NFD) club Royal AM at Chatsworth Stadium on Thursday afternoon, when they were fixtured to play Richards Bay.
As a result, Richards Bay came away with three points from what would have been an all-NFD clash. The match officials went through the usual pre-game procedures before Limpopo referee Victor Hlungwani blew the game off and signalled the walk-over for Richards Bay.
Earlier in the day, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) used its Twitter account to announce that the game was taking place. It confirmed that the PSL have not abandoned the contentious relegation/promotion playoffs, despite the ongoing court battles and Royal AM’s refusal to play their first fixture a few days ago.
It looks like the PSL have decided that by continuing with the play-offs, Royal AM could decide its destiny by their no-show.
The PSL have repeatedly made it clear that there is no reason why the play-offs should come to a halt, while Royal AM stubbornly holds the view that PSL is in contempt of court. They base their stand on a judgement handed down by acting judge Nyathi AJ of the Gauteng High Court.
The PSL, on the other hand, is running with the verdict of Gauteng High Court deputy judge president Roland Sutherland. Last Friday night he dismissed Royal AM’s application to have his initial order, which he gave earlier, reviewed in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
To date, the PSL have hardly commented on the ongoing saga. It is hard to believe why the PSL are also not throwing the National Soccer League (NSL) handbook at Royal AM. The handbook contains all the rules governing the entire spectrum of professional football in the country.
One relevant rule, in part, reads: ‘No body [like a club for example] or individual under the jurisdiction of SAFA shall approach a court of law to decide on a dispute it has with a body or individual affiliated to SAFA.
The reason for this might be that the PSL hierarchy may be divided on the issue and that there may be Royal AM sympathisers on the executive.
The no-shows by Royal AM on their home patch has also resulted in a financial fiasco since broadcaster SuperSport were unable to screen the matches. The PSL pick up all the costs of the play-offs. They may also be required to stump up costs for loss of broadcasts.