Premier Soccer League (PSL) chair Irvin Khoza said it is “unfair” and “upsetting” that he gets accused of influencing the PSL’s prosecutorial process to benefit his club Orlando Pirates.
Khoza again came in for public speculation and accusations in the case involving Mamelodi Sundowns fielding ineligible Wayne Arendse in a 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits in October.
Sundowns were found guilty and fined R250‚000 but did not have points deducted.
The PSL were taking the decision of their disciplinary committee to a SA Football Association (Safa) arbitration, asking that a 3-0 victory be awarded to Wits. This would have seen a point deducted from Sundowns‚ and two awarded to Wits.
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In the final standings Sundowns defended their title with a two-point gap over Pirates‚ who finished three points above third-placed Wits. The arbitration has since been dropped by the PSL.
However this has not stopped public speculation that Khoza‚ who is also chairman of Pirates‚ had been behind the case to remove points from Sundowns.
“It’s unnecessary and it’s unfair. Some of the things are just done purposefully‚” Khoza said. “We don’t do those things here. That’s why it’s a bit upsetting that you do your best to make sure you would think about the interest of everybody.
“We are eight members on the executive. So nobody can pursue his own right. So why must a particular case now be seen as it is being pursued by a person who has got no authority or competency to be in that space?
“The last time we were there we spoke about the prosecutor [in a media conference by Khoza and PSL prosecutor Nande Becker]‚ and in front of the media I said‚ ‘can you [Becker] please give the media what you have prepared’. Because I don’t know what’s going on in that [legal] department.
“But still there are people who will say‚no but there must be an influence’. What influence? I have [supposedly] got powers that I don’t know where I get them. I’ve got more power than any other person can ever think of. But people will still insinuate. What can you do?”
The Arendse case being dropped after the season has been concluded might start another round of accusations of Khoza having an influence on his prosecutorial department.
The chairman‚ though‚ makes a relevant point: “In fact in this case there was no benefit for anybody. The club that might have benefited was Wits.”
The log ahead of the final day of the league on May 11 had Sundowns on 56 points‚ two points ahead of Pirates (54)‚ with Wits on 51.
Regardless of Downs being deducted a point‚ if Sundowns lost against Free State Stars instead of guaranteeing their championship with a 1-0 win at Goble Park‚ Pirates would have won the league with their 3-0 victory against Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium.
Deducted a point‚ Sundowns would have been on 55 points‚ and Pirates on 57. Without a point deducted‚ Downs would have been on 56.
Had Sundowns drawn against Stars‚ even without a point deducted‚ they would have finished level on 57 points with Pirates‚ who had a superior goal difference‚ and Bucs would have won the title. Which perhaps takes the wind out of the sails of the conspiracy argument.