League to start as Ajax back down

The Urban Warriors have been fighting an ongoing court battle for reinstatement to the promotion play-off position, following Advocate William Mokhari’s SAFA arbitration award that saw the club docked points and subsequently relegated from the topflight in May.

Judge Denise Fischer last month, however, set aside Mokhari’s ruling for lack of jurisdiction and thus ordered the matter of Tendai Ndoro’s eligibility be heard by world football governing body FIFA, through the Players’ Status Committee.

The Premier Soccer League, as well as AmaZulu who had been directly affected by Mokhari’s award in so far as their log standing was concerned, therefore sought leave to appeal the judgement, and Judge Fischer thus heard the matter on Thursday morning at 09h00, to which she then handed down her decision.

“Central to this matter is the issue of interpretation in respect of the international statutes of the NSL [PSL], FIFA and SAFA. There is also the matter of interpretation in relation to the relative judgement of Justice Unterhalter in the previous Ndoro case,” explained Fischer.

“The interpretation, which is positive, by Mr Trengrove on behalf of the NSL [PSL] to my mind has some prospects of success on appeal.

“I make the following order: Leave is granted to the NSL and AmaZulu to appeal against the whole of my judgement.”

Ajax’s interdict application was shortly thereafter heard by Judge Phanuel Mudau, but the Mother City club, through the advice of their legal representatives, withdrew their application following the League being granted leave to appeal.

A Section 18 application, which allows a party to ask for the order which is being appealed to remain effective, was then returned to Judge Fischer. Ajax subsequently withdrew on this front too as they indicated no intention to halt the start of the season and continue their efforts to gain immediate reinstatement.

The South Gauteng High Court Judge President will now allocate a date for the PSL’s appeal hearing, which has been filed as urgent.

It is uncertain at this point whether Ajax have strategically backed down with the intention of winning the appeal, or whether they are reconsidering their stance in the matter.

Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou refused to comment following the court proceedings, but mentioned that the club would release an official statement in due course.