Former PSL general manager and referee Andile 'Ace' Ncobo explains why 2020 Nedbank Cup champions Mamelodi Sundowns cannot be stripped of the title.
The Brazilians' historic treble success has been somewhat overshadowed by the administrative error the club made in the Nedbank Cup final against Bloemfontein Celtic.
Suspended defender Teboho Langerman was included in the matchday squad despite being suspended, leading to speculative suggestions the club could face punishment as severe as the trophy win being forfeited as a result.
The NSL Handbook's rules are there for all to see but Bloemfontein Celtic's reported protest – which carries a fee of R20 000 – would still need to go through various processes to achieve any outcome, the likeliest of which is a fine for Sundowns.
'Mr Spot On' says even a protest 30 minutes prior to kick-off – as required by PSL rules – would have done very little in helping poor Siwelele in this complaint.
"No look, if they had lodged the protest I think the response by Sundowns would have been to pull him out and then face the prospect of misconduct in having included him in the official team sheet, that does not fall away," Ncobo explains to KickOff.com.
"The fact that Sundowns or someone at Sundowns dropped the ball in terms of their administrative duties has landed them into misconduct. So whether or not Celtic takes action, that remains. The League must be on Sundowns for having done so.
"But if we were to take a hypothetical situation and say, had Celtic submitted a protest not later than 30 minutes before kick-off, what would have happened? Sundowns would have come to their realisation that they have included a suspended player in their team sheet, and would have removed him and then face the misconduct.
"Now Celtic did not do that, they submitted a complaint... if they did submit a complaint to the League. Again, regardless of whether or not Celtic submits to the League, Sundowns is still liable to be sanctioned due to the misconduct.
"It's got nothing to do with stripping them of the title and the trophy and the medals and all of that. The only time a protest is valid is when it is lodged no later than 30 minutes before kick-off."
View Sundowns' historic treble celebrations after winning the Nedbank Cup below
Prior to the August restart of football, Celtic's own place in the Nedbank Cup had been in question after Witbank Spurs brought accusations before the PSL regarding Aviwe Nyamende's registration.