By Grace Chingoma
Herentals have described their latest expulsion from the Premier Soccer League as a weird act which they claim exposes a hidden agenda to destroy their club.
Yesterday, the Students were slapped with an expulsion by the PSL disciplinary committee for taking football matters to the court.
The decision comes barely a week after the club won their appeal against a guilty decision, in a match-fixing case, delivered by the same PSL disciplinary committee.
PSL spokesperson, Kudzai Bare, released a judgment in which she said their disciplinary committee had expelled Herentals for not withdrawing their case from the High Court.
According to the judgment, Order 31.1.5, states that a club will be charged for an act of misconduct if:
“It fails to comply with, or contravenes any provisions of the constitution, and those orders of the Zifa Constitution and Rules of the Association, the Caf Statutes and the Fifa Statutes as well as laws of the game.
“It, inclusive of its officials, players, servants or duly authorised (expressed or implied) representative or supporters, commits any act or makes any statement, either orally or in writing, or has been responsible for conduct which is considered ungentlemanly, insulting or improper behaviour or likely to bring the game, sponsors any member, the league, Zifa, Caf or Fifa into disrepute.
“The club also breached Article 53.1 of the PSL Statutes which states that:
“PSL, its members, players’ officials and match and player’s agents will not take any dispute to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the statutes and Fifa regulations.
“Any disagreement shall be submitted to the jurisdiction of PSL, Zifa, Caf, and Fifa.
“The club pleaded guilty to the offence and the PSL DC noted that the club had not withdrawn the matter from the courts.’’
Yesterday, the Harare club were expelled from the top-flight league and fined $100 000.
But, club secretary Fainos Madhumbu, said the decision – which was reached at without a hearing – appeared to suggest the league were not pursuing a personal case against them.
“To us, this came as a surprise. They were waiting for the Zifa Appeals Committee to come up with this weird judgment,’’ he said.
‘’During the annual general meeting, where they kept us away, they came up with an amendment, and a resolution, that a club which takes football matters to the courts would be expelled.
“So, what we don’t understand is how this could affect us since we filed this court case before March 6 when this resolution was crafted.
“During the hearing, we apologised for taking football matters to court and informed them that we were withdrawing the case.
“Before the Zifa Appeals Committee, our lawyer was present and he told them (both Zifa Disciplinary Committee lawyers and PSL Disciplinary Committee members) that he has been instructed, three weeks earlier, to withdraw the matter and it’s on record.
“He even explained that was an administrative process which takes some time and this had delayed the process to withdraw the case before the courts.
“So, it is sort of surprising that they come up with this judgment. It appears as if they want to ambush us, there is a hidden agenda or this has become a personal attack.’’
Madhumbu said they have come a long way to stop, at this stage, to preserve their Premiership status.
“We are going to appeal, honestly speaking, we cannot surrender now. We cannot tire and we will challenge the decision,” he said.
“Also, we did not take the football matters to the courts as such but we were seeking to have legal representation after we were denied legal representation by the PSL DC.
“We apologised to everyone and even came out in the media apologising for bringing football matters to the courts.’’
He said it was surprising the same PSL attended the whole Zifa Appeals Board hearing when they could have argued they were not entitled to do so given Herentals had technically expelled themselves from their membership by going to court.
He said it appears someone was not happy with the outcome and has come up with a cocktail of other allegations to reach the same verdict reached in the earlier case. The Herald