Relegated Ajax in court bid to halt playoffs

Ajax Cape Town are to file papers in the high court this morning to have the Premier Soccer League’s promotion/relegation playoffs postponed.

Chaos reigned in South African soccer yesterday as Ajax were effectively relegated by a decision from arbiter William Mokhari SC that they had acted wrongfully in playing Zimbabwe striker Tendai Ndoro earlier this season.

Mokhari forfeited three matches – wins against Platinum Stars and SuperSport United‚ and a draw against Polokwane City – in favour of Ajax’s opponents as he ruled that the club was the third Ndoro had played for this season‚ in contravention of Fifa regulations.

But Ajax are ready to fight back and will go to the courts to try to stop the opening playoff game taking place in Thohoyandou today between National First Division side Black Leopards and Platinum Stars, who received a reprieve thanks to the decision, having been relegated five days ago.

“Ajax Cape Town are consulting with their legal team regarding William Mokhari SC’s arbitration ruling released this morning‚” the club said yesterday.

“The club is in the process of preparing papers to be filed urgently before the high court in Johannesburg for the matter to be heard tomorrow at 10am.

“Among other issues‚ the club will seek to interdict the promotion playoffs from commencing [today] at 3pm.

“This will be sought pending an urgent review of the arbitrator’s award.”

Ndoro has also played for Orlando Pirates and Saudi Arabian club Al-Faisaly in the 2017-18 season‚ but Ajax maintain there were extenuating circumstances‚ including that the player was not paid for some months by the Saudis.

Platinum Stars are on their way to Limpopo to take Ajax’s place in the promotion/relegation playoff clash against Leopards at the Thohoyandou Stadium. Dikwena‚ who were relegated from the PSL a few days ago‚ were given a lifeline after Mokhari’s ruling.

Club officials confirmed earlier yesterday that they were frantically making plans to honour the fixture against Leopards.

AmaZulu were less than charmed with the ruling.

“This is a disgrace to our football,” coach Cavin Johnson said after his team were knocked out of the top eight by SuperSport following the Ndoro decision.

The decision had serious implications for other teams and AmaZulu’s top eight place was snatched from them on a dramatic day in South African football.

“As a club, we have not yet decided [what to do]‚” Johnson said.

“I’m not sure if the club will find a way to challenge this. “It’s a pity, because we did our job on the field of play but now an off-the-field decision has dealt a blow to all of that.

“You can imagine what this will to do our players’ morale‚ the fans and the club, which will lose money as a result of not now qualifying for next year’s MTN 8 competition.”

By contrast, Platinum Stars were thrilled with their second lease on life in the premiership.

“Fortunately‚ we never stopped training since our last league match last weekend because we were anticipating something like this,” Stars official Tebogo Mochadibane said.

“To be honest‚ we didn’t know what we were waiting for but we decided to keep the players here in Rustenburg in case something like this happened.”