CAPE TOWN – Safa’s arbitration has decided to throw the rule book at Bloemfontein Celtic, and Mamelodi Sundowns have been let off the hook.
Celtic had lodged a protest with the PSL after Sundowns included a suspended player, Tebogo Langerman, on their team sheet for the recent Nedbank Cup final at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The PSL decided that the arbitration of Safa should make a call on the matter.
Advocate Gcina Malindi SC was the arbitrator.
The rules governing play in the PSL are all contained in the National Soccer League (NSL) handbook. The NSL is made up of the PSL and the National First Division – now the GladAfrica Championship.
The rules require a protest to be lodged 30 minutes before the start of the game. Celtic officially lodged the protest towards the end of the match when it appeared that Sundowns were about to bring on Langerman as a substitute.
It did not happen because a match official stopped the substitution. The official was aware that Langerman’s name appeared on a list of players who had been suspended and therefore not eligible to play in the match.
It is then that Celtic lodged a protest, but the timing of it was at odds with the rules. As a result, Celtic lost their case which cost them R20 000 to lodge.
Their protest was rendered invalid.
Sundowns also broke the rules when they included Langerman among the substitutes on the official team sheet.
The arbitrator will probably make a call on that matter, and a verdict will likely follow today. It is expected that Sundowns will only be slapped with a monetary fine.
This case also points out the administrative shortcomings at the highest level of the professional game in the country.
The PSL circulated the names of suspended players a few days before the final but Sundowns still went ahead and included Langerman in the matchday squad.
Admittedly, Sundowns did not see that Langerman was among the suspended players.
The match-day squads are submitted to the referee an hour before the match, and at the same time the teams exchange team sheets.
Much like Sundowns, Celtic failed to see the name of a suspended player on the opposition’s team list.
Former PSL general manager and referee expert Ace Ncobo said that had Celtic acted by the rules and lodged a protest 30 minutes before kick-off, the player’s name would have been removed from the team sheet and Sundowns would have faced a charge of misconduct.