OPINION: Scrap/change the PSL Promotion Play-offs
Posted: 2 June 2014 Time: 11:51
After Polokwane City won the PSL Promotion Play-offs, KickOff.com questions the integrity of how promotion and relegation is decided.
The problem of stating that Polokwane City "won the Promotion Play-offs" is obvious. Boebie Solomons' side were not promoted, they just survived relegation.
After several years of complicated post-season play-offs that have determined which teams are promoted to the top division, is it not time to scrap them in favour of a standard top-two-go-up and bottom-two-go-down rule?
Then second, third and fourth in the NFD could enter play-offs for the second promoted team – like it is done between the English Championship and the Premier League in England.
The problem is not the concept of playing off against your closest rivals to earn promotion, but that the 15th-placed team in the South African Premiership (this year Polokwane City) still gets the chance to survive despite a poor season.
There is an argument that says if there were two relegation places in the top-flight, the fear of relegation would bring more negative 'parking the bus' tactics to our local game.
Whatever reasons the PSL use to justify six more matches to determine one more place in the top division surely does not remove what everybody else can see – that these play-offs are unfair to NFD teams who work all season to earn a spot in the lucrative Absa Premiership, only to risk it all in one-off matches.
Particularly hard to accept was the end of the 2009/10 season when they ended with the most points out of the teams in both NFD streams (coastal and inland) but were still denied promotion after Mpumalanga Black Aces (15th in Prem) beat them on penalties in the play-offs after a 3-3 aggregate draw in a two-legged play-off final.
Is it fair that a team who have been poor in a league they are probably not good enough to play in gets a 'cup final' chance to deny a team that are probably too good for the league they currently play in?
Black Leopards, Milano United and Baroka FC all finished the 2013/14 First Division season on 50 points. On the face of it, they all deserved a shot at promotion. Why not have them contest the play-offs for the right to play in the Absa Premiership and join automatically promoted Chippa United?
Instead, only one team from the NFD has been promoted for next season. How will that motivate 2014/15's NFD teams?