By Tedious Manyepo
The Premier Soccer League are not just about to give in without a strong fight in their dispute with Zifa and yesterday the top-flight body rejected the imposition of Dynamos president Kenny Mubaiwa by the association as interim chairman.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa on Wednesday officially wrote to Mubaiwa confirming their appointment of the Harare businessman as interim chairman of the PSL and outlined a number of tasks they expect him to carry during his tenure.
The measures also included securing a report from league chief executive Kenny Ndebele, facilitating an audit of the PSL, amending the top-flight body’s constitution and reporting activities through the Zifa chief executive Joseph Mamutse.
But the Premiership clubs, through their lawyers Coghlan Welsh and Guest wrote back to Zifa, rejecting the imposition of Mubaiwa to stand in for the suspended Peter Dube.
The clubs insisted that the league would be managed by the emergency committee that was appointed at a PSL special congress and of which Mubaiwa is a member.
Chicken Inn chairman Lifa Ncube and Triangle boss Lovemore Matsikinyidze and outgoing Caps United chairman Lewis Uriri are the other members on the emergency committee.
Uriri has however, since withdrawn from the emergency committee after stepping down as Caps United chairman.
PSL lawyer Wellington Magaya said given the pending matter between the league and Zifa which is before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, all correspondence on the top-flight’s body’s row with the association would be handled by the legal practitioners.
Magaya yesterday wrote back to Chiyangwa outlining the clubs’ position.
“Your letter of the 10th December 2016 referenced ‘Request for information’, and directed to the Premier Soccer League has been referred to us for advice and response.
“You will be aware from previous correspondences that our Mr. Magaya represents the Premier Soccer League (‘the PSL’) having been duly appointed by a committee compromising of the PSL Chief Executive Officer and Lewis Uriri, set up for that purpose at the PSL’s Annual General Meeting of the 5th March 2016.
The appointment is in terms of Article 37a (1) of the PSL Constitution.
“You will be equally aware that we are the PSL’s principal attorneys in case number CAS 2016/0/4873 pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (‘the CAS’). You will have had sight of the resolution of the PSL Special Congress of the 19th November 2016 reaffirming an earlier resolution of the 29th October 2016 to take the dispute between the parties to the CAS. Kindly note that the PSL as a universitas capable of suing and being sued in its name as such, and its member clubs took the collective decision to all and each approach the CAS. The resolution of the Special Congress of the 19th November 2016 appointed agents for both the PSL and its member clubs for the purposes of the CAS proceedings. Such agents could only be formally instructed by the PSL’s regular attorneys.
“We accordingly represent each of the member clubs of the PSL pursuant to Article 37a (4) of the PSL Constitution,” read part of the letter.
The PSL also queried the section of the Zifa constitution that had been used to appoint Mubaiwa.
“In your letter under reply you purport to have appointed Mr. Kenny Mubaiwa as the Chairman of the PSL. This you claim to have done in terms of Article 34 (e) and (o) of the Zifa Constitution. We advise as follows: –
“The Articles of the Zifa Constitution that you purport to rely on do not in fact give you the powers to “appoint” office bearers for affiliates. The said Articles read in relevant part as follows: “Article 34 Powers of the Executive Committee The Executive Committee: e) shall appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and members of the Electoral Committee; o) may delegate tasks arising out of its area of authority to other bodies of Zifa or third parties.
“1.1 Article 34 (e) of the Zifa Constitution relates to the appointment of the Electoral Committee established under that Constitution. It cannot be stretched to cover the appointment of the Chairman of an affiliate let alone an affiliate whose office bearers are appointed or elected in terms of such affiliate’s Constitution. You have acted outside both power and capacity in this regard. 1.2 Article 34 (o) of the Zifa Constitution relates to the delegation by the Zifa Executive Committee of its powers under Article 34 (a)-(n) of that constitution. The appointment of a Chairman for the PSL or any affiliate of Zifa is certainly not one of the functions of the Zifa Executive Committee and cannot thus be delegated. You cannot in short, delegate a power you do not have.
“The PSL which in correspondence from your good offices and statements attributed to the Chairman of the Zifa Constitutional Review Committee has been asserted to have no legal recognition under the Zifa Constitution, is an affiliate of Zifa. It has an existence independent, distinct and separate of Zifa. It has specific constitutional provisions for the election or appointment of its office bearers” wrote Magaya.
Magaya also said the clubs would stand by the resolution of their board of governors.
“The PSL Board of Governors remains extant and capable of executing its functions as such. It has not, seating as an electoral college in congress, elected Mr. Mubaiwa as its Chairman. The position remains as resolved by the Special Congress of the PSL, namely that pending the disposition of the matter relating to the status of its “suspended” Chairman, the PSL shall be superintended over by the Emergency Committee established by Article 33 of its Constitution.
“The PSL Emergency Committee (with the exception of Uriri who has voluntarily withdrawn from all football related administration functions regardless of his purported ‘suspension’, ‘reinstatement’ and ‘re-suspension’) remains capable of discharging its duties as such.
“The PSL Chief Executive Officer is mandated by resolution of the Special Congress aforesaid to report to the Emergency Committee. The PSL CEO will continue to report to the Emergency Committee as resolved. Until the PSL Congress resolves otherwise, and for the avoidance of doubt, the PSL Board of Governors does not recognise your appointment of Mr. Mubaiwa as the Chairman of the PSL. The PSL, its Board of Governors and Emergency Committee remain bound by resolutions of the Special Congress aforesaid and will accordingly not follow your directive to comply with instructions given by Mr. Mubaiwa in his capacity as your imposed Chairman of the PSL.
“Our clients will resist any and all measures meant to bring the PSL under the direct administration of Zifa.
“You are also aware that the PSL in its Special Congress of the 19th November 2016 noted with concern your interference with the administrative structures of the PSL with the primary intention of thereby rendering the same dysfunctional. The PSL noted that its very existence is under threat and resolved to seek interim measures of protection from CAS barring your interference with its administrative structures and the purge of its Governors perceived to be influential and less likely to tow your line. You have continued on this path regardless of the fact that this is now the subject of a judicial process: –
“You have gone as far as the unilateral proclamation of a position that will prevail regardless of the fact that the matters in issue have neither been resolved by the CAS nor been compromised upon by the parties.
“You have directed your cherry-picked PSL Chairman to commence the ‘reform’ of the PSL Constitution in consultation with the chairman of the Zifa Constitutional Reform Committee, regardless of the fact that this ought to be an internal PSL process.
“You have directed the said ‘chairman’ of the PSL to come up with a report on the operations and alleged misdemeanors of the PSL’s Chief Executive Officer which is a matter that falls within the employer-employee relationship between the CEO and the PSL as well as the PSL Disciplinary Code,” Magaya said.
The clubs also challenged the Zifa interference on their sponsorship deals.
“You have directed that the PSL should not sign any local sponsorship contract without your approval nor should it engage in negotiations with foreign sponsors without your participation and input.
“You have sought a disclosure of all the PSL sponsors.
“You have purportedly appointed forensic auditors to audit the PSL for the period 2009 to date without legal foundation in terms of both the Zifa and PSL Constitutions and regardless of the fact that the PSL is audited annual by competent auditors appointed in terms of its own constitution.
“This is, needless to say, contemptuous of both our clients and the CAS procedures which have been invoked to determine amongst other issues your efforts to effectively dissolve the PSL and run the same as an integral part of Zifa” Chronicle