Ari Efstathiou. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Ari Efstathiou. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Ajax Cape Town are believed to be in talks with Bloemfontein Celtic in a bid to convince the Free State club’s owner, Max Tshabalala, to agree to a deal that would see the two sides swap their Premiership statuses.

Ajax‚ who are threatening to interdict the start of the coming premiership season‚ are working on this move as their safety net in case they lose their bid to remain in the league next season in the aftermath of the Tendai Ndoro eligibility saga.

Judge Denise Fisher gave Ajax a lifeline last week by directing the matter to Fifa as the only body that can rule on Ndoro’s matter‚ but the Premier Soccer League (PSL) indicated later that it intended to appeal the decision.

Insiders said if Ajax fail in their bid to stay in the top flight‚ the Cape side could buy Celtic’s status and relocate the club to the Mother City. Celtic‚ on the other hand‚ would assume Ajax’s status in the National First Division (NFD).

"It is true that Ajax bosses have been in contact with Max [Tshabalala] in Bloemfontein with this offer of swapping their PSL statuses‚" the insiders said.

"Obviously they are not sure whether they will ultimately win their case [the Ndoro eligibility saga] through the courts or at Fifa and stay in the PSL.

"So they have devised a plan B that could see a swap of the two clubs’ statuses."

Another high-ranking informant in Cape Town said the Ajax bosses were proposing a plan that would see Celtic drop to the NFD and allow the Urban Warriors to remain in the PSL.

But this move is likely to be met with resistance by the Bloemfontein Celtic players.

"From my understanding of things‚ Ajax only wants the status of Celtic and this means the players will be left in limbo.

"I am not sure how far they have gone with the negotiations but this may prove to be a problem if any deal is agreed between the two sides‚" the informant said.

Celtic remains for sale as they do not have a sponsor and they failed to pay the salaries of some of their players on time in June‚ leading to a meeting between the South African Players Union and the players last weekend.

Tshabalala and Ajax CE Ari Efstathiou could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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