Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) will not seek condonation in the Herentals case following the Zifa appeals committee’s ruling to quash the league’s disciplinary committee decision to expel the club for taking football matters to court.
Herentals, who were also cleared of match-fixing by the Zifa appeals committee in March, were again forced to seek the association’s intervention when the PSL threw them out of the league and ordered that they pay a $100 000 fine for taking football matters to court.
That ruling by the PSL disciplinary committee meant The Students, as Herentals are also known, missed registration deadlines.
After the Zifa appeals committee ruled in favour of Herentals, the PSL said it’s not challenging the victory.
“As a league we respect the rules and regulations and we are aware that the decision of the Zifa appeals committee is final. As such, we will not challenge the decision or seek any form of condonation. We will be sending Herentals FC necessary documents so that they affiliate. Regarding player registration, as you are aware, it’s done by Zifa and the club will have to engage Zifa,” said PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele.
The first transfer window, done online through the transfer matching system (TMS), closed in March, with Herentals the only Premiership side not registering.
The Students approached the High Court in February challenging the PSL disciplinary committee’s decision to dock them three points after being found guilty of match-fixing.
The Harare club filed a High Court appeal challenging the decision to dock them three points.
They had been found guilty of manipulating a league match against Black Rhinos, which the Students won 3-0 last year.
The Zifa appeals committee overturned the PSL disciplinary committee’s decision to dock three points from Herentals and fine them for match-fixing.
The Zifa appeals committee accused the PSL disciplinary committee of being driven by animosity and underlying vendettas against Herentals.
Taking football matters to court however attracts “heavy sanctions” under Fifa, Zifa and PSL codes.
The Zifa appeals committee upheld the PSL disciplinary committee’s decision to fine the Harare club $75 000 which must be paid by July 31.
In arriving at the decision to give Herentals reprieve, the Stead Kachere-led appeals committee noted that the Students’ owner Innocent Benza, who sought public sympathy when he wrote an emotional open letter claiming that a third force was after his club, had also instructed his lawyers to withdraw the court papers.
Herentals admitted in February that they erred by taking football matters to court, promising to withdraw their appeal, but to date, that hasn’t been done.
The club has rejected accusations that its donations to Zifa compromised the national association.
Zifa wrote on its social media platforms: “Herentals pardoned for taking football maters to court. The Zifa appeals board yesterday reversed the expulsion of Herentals FC from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) by PSL’s Disciplinary Committee. Reprieve is on condition that Herentals shall not take football matters to ordinary courts of law within the next five years.”
Herentals reacted to their victory by posting a video of players singing a war cry, with @TNdirwo posting: “Prepare well for the season. Next time if you buy games chaya nechamboko, we need disciplined students.”
Below are some of the responses to Zifa’s Saturday posts from Twitter and Facebook.
@ANyamasime: It pays to bail out a broke Zifa.
@Kea_sabelo: Ngoba bona balemali silibhekile sithule.
@LJambani: So Gift Guava Kamuriwo lied under oath?
@schumsimbe: thank you very much. Welcome home @HerentalsFc.
@simbakavhu: This is a shame…. disgusting.
Francis Dube: Madness by Zifa. Herentals has been funding Zifa. Doing things to fix and undermine PSL. Why not prioritise Banda’s issue. He was elected just like you.
Sherman Mhlanga: So you are telling us match fixing is not a problem but taking football matters to court is what matters and you are guaranteed that it will stop match fixing in future with this $70 000 bond.
Fracky Makwenda: So let’s punish the one who expelled them because it means he was biased.
Hlabano Ngwenya: we knew it. – @ZililoR