By Innocent Benza
Herentals have decided to abandon their High Court challenge against a decision by the Premier Soccer League to dock them three points, over alleged match-fixing, which many feared could derail the start of the domestic Premiership.
The Harare club filed their High Court application after they were found guilty by the PSL disciplinary committee of allegedly manipulating their league match against Black Rhinos which they won 3-0 last year.
But, the Students have decided to abandon that route and, instead, will pursue their challenge through the Zifa Appeals Committee which sits in Harare today to hear their appeal.
Club owner, Innocent Benza, who had never commented on the issue since it exploded last year, told our Harare Bureau yesterday that, after discussions, they felt they were wrong to take football matters to the High Court.
He said his club’s leadership agreed to let the case be dealt with through the channels provided by the football statutes for the resolution of such matters.
“We’ve been thinking about how we reacted to the initial decision by the PSL disciplinary committee, especially our decision to file a High Court application to challenge the verdict,” he said.
“We felt we took the wrong decision because the rules and regulations are very clear that football matters should be dealt with within the channels set up for such issues.
“By taking our case to the High Court, we could have, unknowingly, appeared to be challenging the game and everything that it stands for and on reflection that was a wrong move.
“Football matters should not be taken to court and there is a reason why those who came up with that pronouncement did so because the game has channels which are there to deal with any issue that might arise.
“This is why we are withdrawing our case from the High Court so that we give the channels, open for the resolution of our case in football, a chance to do their work.
“We appealed against the decision by the PSL disciplinary committee because we felt we were not given a fair judgment and the rules and regulations clearly say that, in the event you feel aggrieved by a ruling at the disciplinary committee, you can approach the Zifa Appeals Committee.
“We did that and we now await its sitting and ruling and that will guide us on our next course of action.
“Once we affiliated to play competitive football, we bound ourselves to its rules and regulations and we must be seen to be respecting them and that’s why we felt our decision to take the case to the High Court was wrong.”
Benza said they were also apologising to the domestic football leadership for appearing to challenge their authority by taking matters to the High Court.
“We believe it is only fair that we apologise to our football leaders for the way we reacted to the decision by the PSL disciplinary committee because it gave the impression that we were challenging their authority,” he said.
“That authority is vested in the committee which they created, and the people who sit in those committees, and whatever decision they pass.
“Of course, it’s the first time we have had to deal with such an issue and we were guided by our emotions rather than respect for what the rules and regulations say and that’s why we have to say we are sorry.
“Football should be the winner at the end of the day and by saying this we are cognisant of the fact that the Premier League was there before we came on board and it will be there even after we are no longer there.
“That is why we have decided to let the authority of those who have been tasked with the power to deal with such issues, in the game and guided by the rules and regulations of the game, deal with our case and bring it to finality.” The Chronicle