Ajax: There’s a conflict of interest

Following Judge Denise Fisher’s judgement which set aside advocate William Mokhari’s arbitration ruling that condemned Ajax to relegation, the PSL Executive Committee announced their decision to appeal the judgement, the second time they have appealed a ruling that went in favour of Ajax after also appealing the DRC’s initial decision to give Tendai Ndoro the green light in January.

Ajax chairman Ari Efstathiou feels the eight-member committee - made up of Irvin Khoza (Orlando Pirates)‚ Kaizer Motaung (Kaizer Chiefs)‚ Mato Madlala (Lamontville Golden Arrows)‚ Stanley Matthews (SuperSport United)‚ David Thidiela (Black Leopards)‚ Jose Ferreira (Bidvest Wits)‚ Rejoice Vakashile Simelane (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Khumbulani Konco (Bloemfontein Celtic) – were at the time conflicted, which may have influenced their decision to appeal the initial verdict.

“The DRC initially ruled in favour of Ajax, while the Executive Committee – who did not take any ratification from the Board of Governors – appealed,” Efstathious explains. “At the time this decision was made, it was the 31st of January, and out of the eight members of ExCo, five were conflicted in making that decision. At the time Orlando Pirates were going for the league‚ while Golden Arrows‚ Bidvest Wits‚ SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic were fighting possible relegation. The decision was made at the time by ExCo to appeal the DRC’s decision, yet five members were conflicted.

“And even this time, the decision made by ExCo to appeal Judge Fisher’s judgement‚ two members of the ExCo being Black Leopards and SuperSport [who want their place in the PSL, and United who want their place in the MTN8]‚ are conflicted as well.

“These are issues which need to be brought onto the table. I find it extremely surprising that the ExCo allows decision-making with that in place.”

Efstathiou admits Ajax feel hard done by with the situation.

“We find it a bit difficult that our mother body, the PSL, is going against one of its members,” he says. “We also find it difficult that we have followed the rules – rule 24.3 of the NSL handbook quite clearly says that any ruling of the DRC will stand until such time that it is set aside, and we followed that ruling to the ‘T’, and only played Ndoro during that period.

“I think the process has gone on for so long that personal egos are now in the way a little bit, and I’m not blaming anybody because we have to look at ourselves as well, but it’s been almost five months now.”

Ajax is hoping to halt the start of the 2018/19 season, with the application for this interdict set to be heard in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.