Judge Denise Fisher earlier this month ruled in favour of Ajax Cape Town, setting aside SAFA Arbitrator William Mokhari SC’s ruling that had relegated the Cape club last season.
The Premier Soccer League Executive Committee then met and decided to appeal the South Gauteng High Court judgement, which was then ratified by the PSL’s Board of Governors, a decision which left Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou incensed.
“We are very disappointed with the decision made by the Board of Governors,” he told reporters. “We were expecting ratification of the decision that was taken by the Executive Committee (ExCo) last Thursday, but contrary to that, it seemed like an informative session telling the board of governors of the decision ExCo had taken. A decision that was ratified was based on emotion to ensure the league starts on the fourth of August.
“Even if the league has asked Judge Fisher of leave to appeal, considering the courts are in recess until the 30th of July, we wanted to know what the league’s opinion of time was, and frankly we got no answer to that. It seems to us that the league has taken a decision to delay the process, get the league started and let us as Ajax chase the situation which is totally unattainable for us, as we feel it’s totally unfair considering we won the initial court case which set aside Mokahri’s arbitration award which put us in 15th position.”
Efstathiou then unveiled his club’s plan to fight the matter further.
“Ajax will be following the following course of action: firstly, we will oppose the application of leave to appeal, but we are concerned that the application is unlikely to be heard before the new season.
“Secondly, Ajax will launch an application in terms of Section 18 of the Superior Courts Act of 2013 to be heard simultaneously with the application of leave to appeal. If the leave is granted, Ajax will ask Judge Fisher to order that her initial order is immediately effective, ie. if she grants the NSL leave to appeal, we will ask her to grant us a Section 18.
“Thirdly, Ajax will seek relief to interdict the commencement of the new Premier League season until either the PSL’s action of leave to appeal and Ajax’s Section 18 application can be heard, and/or, if the leave is granted, and if our section 18 application is dismissed until an expedited appeal is heard.
“In other words, we have no option but to throw everything at it. It’s regrettable, and we understand that it puts South African soccer into chaos, but we have no alternative.”
Efstathiou said Ajax would be finalising their papers on Tuesday afternoon, to be filed in the South Gauteng High Court as soon as possible.