By Ricky Zililo
Herentals FC are hoping to have their expulsion from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for taking football matters to court overturned.
The first transfer window, done online through the transfer matching system (TMS) closed on Tuesday night and Herentals are the only Premiership side not registering.
Herentals were still celebrating being cleared of match-fixing by the Zifa appeals committee when they were thrown out of the PSL on March 24 and slapped with a $100 000 fine that was to be paid by March 31.
The Students approached the High Court last month challenging the PSL disciplinary committee’s decision to dock them three points after being found guilty of match-fixing.
The Harare club filed a High Court application after being found guilty by the PSL disciplinary committee of manipulating their league match against Black Rhinos which they won 3-0 last year.
The Zifa appeals committee overturned the PSL disciplinary committee’s decision to dock three points from Herentals and fine The Students for match-fixing.
Fainos Madhumbu, Herentals secretary-general confirmed that his club missed the transfer deadline, saying that was beyond their control.
“For one to register you must have paid the 2020 affiliation fee. We asked for invoices, but there was no response from the PSL. We requested to pay affiliation fee so that if our appeal is not successful, we get a refund and again we found no joy,” said Madhumbu.
“However, we are hopeful that by the time the season starts, everything would have been sorted. One thing that one must never lose is hope.”
Should the Zifa appeals committee rule in favour of Herentals, the PSL will be forced to accept The Students, but the question is, will Zia provisionally open the window so that the club can register.
Taking football matters to court attracts “heavy sanctions” under Fifa, Zifa and PSL codes.
Those sympathetic to Herentals argue that hawks are out to get The Students.
The club’s owner Innocent Benza sought public sympathy last weekend when he wrote an emotional open letter, claiming that a third force was after his club.
Herentals, who admitted in February that they erred by taking football matters to court, promising to withdraw their appeal, have assisted Zifa on numerous occasions.
The club has rejected accusations that its donations to Zifa compromised the national association, with the appeals committee chairman Stead Kachere stating that they were not treating the club with “kid’s gloves”.
After the lockdown meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, Kachere and his team are expected to conclude the Herentals matter and facilitate for smooth running of the PSL. The Chronicle