By IOL and Kick Off
The Johannesburg High Court has dismissed an application brought by Ajax Cape Town to review the decision of Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC, which ruled that the Premier Soccer League’s Dispute Resolution Chamber had no jurisdiction to decide on the eligibility of Tendai Ndoro to play.
Ndoro joined the Urban Warriors in January from Saudi Arabia club Al Faisaly, but this was his third club in a single season, having featured for Orlando Pirates back in August at the start of the campaign before he was sold.
World football governing body Fifa do not allow for players to play for more than two clubs in a single season, although they can be registered with the understanding that they will be involved only in the following campaign.
The league’s DRC initially ruled that Ndoro can carry on playing for Ajax when the saga was first brought to its attention, but the PSL challenged that ruling and referred it to Safa for arbitration.
Ndoro has already played in four matches for Ajax and now the Urban Warriors, who are desperately looking to avoid relegation with three matches to go, risk being docked points from those games and being charged with bringing the league into disrepute for dragging a football matter to court.
Ajax initially had their urgent application for “interim relief” to interdict the PSL from preventing Ndoro from playing dismissed by the South Gauteng High Court’s Judge Sutherland, pending final relief from the court of SAFA arbitrator Cassim SC’s ruling issued on March 28.
The final appeal was then heard at the same court, this time by Judge Unterhalter, who last week heard the case and subsequently postponed the judgement to this week. On Tuesday the court reconvened as the judgement was announced to be similar to that of the initial appeal.
Judge Unterhalter ultimately ruled that the outcome of the PSL Dispute Resolutions Chamber was to be set aside and further upheld the ruling handed down by the SAFA arbitration, namely advocate Nassir Cassim SC.
“It simply means that the application brought forward by Ajax Cape Town to review and set aside the SAFA arbitrator’s ruling has been dismissed, so their appeal was not successful,” clarified the PSL’s legal representative advocate David Sibiya.
“In terms of the [SGHC court] ruling, it simply means that the DRC’s ruling has been set aside, and what stands is advocate Cassim’s arbitration award – that’s where we are now.”
This leaves the Urban Warriors with no further option but to abide by the SAFA arbitrator’s ruling, and wait for a final ruling to be made by either a new SAFA arbitrator or world football governing body FIFA, taking into account the full merits of Ndoro and the club’s case.
“From here, it will depend where the case goes. It could be that FIFA comes back and makes a ruling, or the parties agree to refer the matter to Cassim or another arbitrator to rule as to whether Ndoro can play or not,” he added.
The Zimbabwean international cited unpaid wages as reason for his transfer to the Cape-based outfit, and thus saw it fit to play for a third club despite being in contravention of FIFA’s regulations, arbitrator Cassim ruled that it was “not an employment related dispute (as the DRC had found) but rather a matter of status” over his eligibility to play for Ajax, subsequently referring the matter to the FIFA Players’ Status Committee.
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