The League's General Manager of Football Derek Blanckensee expalins AmaZulu, Sundowns decision
Posted: 19 April 2011 Time: 12:29
Ian Gorowa's criticism of the PSL's decision to rearrange Mamelodi Sundowns' postponed fixture against AmaZulu for May 4, has been roundly slammed by the League's General Manager of Football Derek Blanckensee.
In a statement released today, Blanckensee outlines how it came about that the Brazilians will face three crucial matches in the space of a week and also hints that the Sundowns' coach could be censured for his innuendo that ‘something funny is going on'.
"Playing three matches within a week is not unusual in our fixtures. Wherever we have a set of midweek fixtures between two weekends this is the case. Sundowns and all other teams have done this a number of times already this season," says Blanckensee.
"Our policy is to never force teams to play one fixture within 48hrs of another (e.g. Sunday followed by Tuesday) but Sunday-Wednesday or Wednesday – Saturday is normal.
"After heavy rain washed out the original encounter at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday afternoon, both sides had expected officials to reschedule for Tuesday or Wednesday this week, as requested.
"Our rules require that we give five days notice of all fixtures unless both clubs and the League agree to a shorter notice period. When the decision was taken to abandon the match we tried through the Match Commissioner to get both clubs to agree to either Tuesday or Wednesday.
"AmaZulu refused to play on Wednesday because they said it was too close to their Nedbank match on Sunday, and Sundowns refused to play on Tuesday because they said they had to go back to Johannesburg to prepare for the match. Neither argument carried much weight in our view as the League, but unfortunately we are not able to force clubs to agree.
"We therefore advised the Match Commissioner to announce that the League would fix a date. We would have fixtured the match for either Tuesday or Wednesday if we were not restricted by the notice period clause, where both clubs must agree.
"Late on Monday Sundowns called us and followed up with a letter to say that they would be happy to play on Tuesday. This was after having refused to do so immediately after the match. By this time it was clearly impossible to reinstate the fixture, and in any case AmaZulu indicated they wouldn't accept such extremely late notice.
"In other cases where we have had cancellations through rain and the match has been played the next day for example, this is because both clubs and the League were able to reach agreement. But with neither side able to agree on a date, the PSL stepped in and moved the match to the first week of May.
"May 4 is the first possible date to play this match. If we scheduled it for Tuesday, April 26 it would be 48 hours after the AmaZulu match on Sunday 24 April. If we scheduled it for Wednesday, April 27 it would be within 48 hours of AmaZulu's match on Friday, April 29.
"On Saturday, May 7 we have the first of two sets of fixtures where we play all Premiership matches on the same day and time in order to ensure fairness running in to the close of the season. To schedule the postponed match after that simultaneous fixture block would render the principle of fairness meaningless because two teams would have a game in hand."
Blanckensee also points out that Gorowa's comments are unsubstantiated in view of the above and that there was nothing ‘strange' in the League's decision.
"This is an unfortunate statement and the League reserves its rights to take action in terms of the rules," he adds.