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Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates controversies raise uneasy questions for PSL

1:50 AM IST 13/12/21
FNB Stadium
When it rains, it pours, it seems for South Africa's Premier Soccer League after a string of recent controversies

Recent controversies surrounding Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have highlighted the PSL's inability or unwillingness to act decisively.

Over the past week, South Africa's most popular club, Kaizer Chiefs, said they had no option but to pull out of two games, first against Cape Town City and then Golden Arrows, over an outbreak of Covid-19.

More than a week after the City game, and still there had been no word on the matter from the PSL, although a press conference has been called for Monday morning.

One can understand the need to weigh up such matters with careful consideration, but still, the complete silence has not reflected well on the organization as it's left football fans and the PSL teams themselves in the dark as to what kind of judgment is going to be taken against Amakhosi.

It also meant that because the games were not officially called off, those called upon to work at the game, including all the Safa officials, broadcasters and media, security as well as players and officials the opposition clubs, still had to turn up at the venue.

Then, adding to the appearance of an organization in turmoil, came the news that PSL prosecutor Nande Becker and PSL legal head Michael Murphy had both quit their positions.

It was on Friday that the PSL sent out an email to the media announcing Monday's press conference.

Subsequently, yet another controversy hit the club owned by the PSL chairman, Orlando Pirates.

Video footage emerged of TS Galaxy owner Tim Sukazi battling with police while reportedly trying to gain entry to the Orlando Stadium to watch his side play the Buccaneers on Saturday night.

It came just a couple of months after Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos was also denied access to Orlando Stadium to watch the PSL encounter between Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Such incidents are needless and reflect badly on South African football when they find their way around the world via the internet. That they happened in such quick succession, with the same mistakes repeated, only worsens it.

The recent events are not the only controversies the PSL have faced in recent years, and there have now been numerous promotion and relegation disputes as well which were dragged on for far too long without a decisive ruling being made. There have also been some questionable changes of club ownership.

Some of these incidents have also once more raised the issue of the PSL hierarchy being made up of PSL club bosses, with the possible conflict of interest issue being brought into the spotlight.

To be fair to the PSL, the organization has over the years been run very well and they've created a brand which has brought in huge sponsorship, which has in turn helped clubs become more professional, and ultimately has provided more opportunities for talented young players.

That can’t be overlooked. The PSL has arguably been the best league on the continent for the past two decades.

It just feels though that over the last couple of years, the controversies and questionable decisions are not truly reflective of what the PSL has stood for since forming in 1996. Perhaps it's time for some new blood to come in, and for some of the structures to be reconsidered.