PSL rules now amended - Ndebele

HARARE - The Daily News Sports Editor Nigel Matongorere sat down with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele to discuss a number of issues pertaining to the league.

Below are the excerpts of the interview. 

Q: Why does the PSL Disciplinary Committee (DC) take long to charge and even hand out judgments?

A: What we need to understand is that we have the rules and regulations that clearly put timelines on what to do. Before a matter is taken to the DC, we first receive match reports. I would say we normally get the reports within 24 hours after the game. After that we analyse the reports and the secretariat then consults the emergency committee on the way forward. If the matter has to be taken to the DC, we then prepare summons which are then served on the defaulting club or individual, who are also given seven working days to appear before the DC. Our DC is made up of four competent legal practitioners and one senior football administrator Brighton Mudzamiri, who is a former referee and a security officer at Fifa level. We then agree on a date when the hearing will take place. Once the date has been agreed on who ever has been charged will attend the hearing. After that the DC will deliberate on the arguments that have been brought forward and decide on the verdict. They then write down the judgment and send it to us; we send it to the person or club that has been charged.

Q: Can you give us a timeline of this entire process?

A: You are looking at probably 21 working days. There is the seven days for the summons and then agree on the date of the hearing; it might not be seven days because it depends on the availability of the DC. They are employed elsewhere and they need to conduct the hearing after hours.

Q: Now turning onto the issue regarding Chapungu and Dynamos; why did it take so long for the DC to come up with a verdict?

A: We need to look at the fact that what happened in that particular game has never happened before; the collapse of the goalposts. Our rules admittedly at that point did not cover the unforeseen circumstances. Of course people were saying that the match should have been restarted within 48 hours but our rules were silent. Even the Zifa rules were silent on the matter not only on the issue of a collapsed goalpost but what they call force majeure. However, this has been subsequently attended to; we circulated the amendments of the rules which the emergency committee later approved on what to do in such a scenario. Now if something happens which is unforeseen, the rules are clear, the match has to be restarted after 72 hours. There are, however, some circumstances that might force the match to be restarted more than 72 hours later. It might be a water logged pitch and there will be need to wait longer than 72 hours for the pitch to dry. Coming back to the question at that time, we did not have a rule as the secretariat to deal with the matter. At the start of the season, Zifa wanted to be very strict as well in terms of Club licensing. There are stadia that were not supposed to be used even up till now. In terms of Club licensing, every club must provide a lease agreement. If you look at the inspection report from Zifa, it provides for the second reserve goalpost but which given the nature of the stadium, you cannot blame the club but the local authorities which are cash strapped.

Q: Why did you charge Chapungu after the abandonment of the game when it was clearly force majeure?

A: From an administration point we charged Chapungu because we had communicated the issue of club licensing but when the DC sat, they said the league should have stood their ground regarding Ascot’s failure to meet the club licensing requirements. But at the same time, if we had stood our ground it would have meant that we would have had limited stadia at the start of the season maybe two or three at most that met the requirements. That was what the DC found against us. The DC felt that the league was too lenient so that’s why they ordered the match to be restarted.

Q: Even after the judgment, it took the league three months to organise the restart; why did it take so long?

A: When the judgment came out; there were a lot of questions that people were asking and we had to sort out the DC to clarify. There was an issue of how we restart the match and the answer was Law 5. What would happen to those fans who had paid but our tickets are written “Not refundable if match is abandoned”. The issue of costs was covered in that each club should meet the costs of the replay. We were also told that they should start with the same players that were on the spot. The DC said any player that was involved in that game will be eligible to play whether they have moved to another team. We even spoke to Chapungu about (Ngoni) Murisa and (Nigel) Papias even if they had moved, they would be eligible. The clubs understood except for the injuries that affected Chapungu. But these are things that can happen in football; players get injured during the warm-up, players get injured when a team has exhausted all the substitutes.

Q: Now turning on to the other issues affecting the league, after the Christian Ntouba red card issue; are we going to see the league charge Dynamos for breaking protocol by appealing to Zifa directly instead of the PSL?

A: Not any charge. We just want to maintain our relations with Zifa as the mother body. We will have our governors meetings and we will continue reminding ourselves of the correct procedures. It’s not the first time that a club has gone directly to Zifa. We just want to maintain a good relationship with Zifa so as to continue developing the game.

Q: There are allegations that the PSL is treating Dynamos with kids’ gloves because Kenni Mubaiwa is the acting president. One case for example, we saw Ocean Mushure kick extra footballs onto the pitch but he was not charged. 

A: The same things were being said in the past that CAPS United are being favoured because of Twine Phiri. To be honest Phiri sacrificed a lot back then. We apply rules and regulations. The match report from that incident never mentioned that it was a player who was doing that. In any event if a player does that, the referee has the tools to deal with it within the confines of Law of the Game. The referee from that match reported that the extra footballs were coming from the VIP stand.

Q: Violence at PSL matches seems to be continuing without anything happening to the perpetrators and the clubs. Is the league doing enough to see an end to this problem?    

A: The issue of violence is a huge concern, it needs more than the clubs, more than the league; it’s a societal problem. At all matches, the police try to search people at the gates but there is smuggling of alcohol. Even without the smuggling of alcohol, there are many things that are intoxicating people which we now understand are affecting some of our players. It’s a huge societal problem and our match organisation needs to improve and we need to tighten our security. You cannot take your kid to watch a football match and the next thing you see spectators being attended to by medics after they have been attacked for nothing. I don’t understand it, how can someone pay money to enter a stadium to attack rival supporters? The clubs are complaining about the cost of paying the police but at the same time, we seem to have a problem with crowd control.

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