Cape Town — The PSL (Premier Soccer League) are masters at selling dummies. First, it was the Compact Cup, and now it is the PSL Players Transition Programme.
Twice in the space of three weeks, the PSL convened press conferences, which were deemed so important, it was flighted live on television, and twice PSL frontman chairman Irvin Khoza had very little to say about highly pertinent issues, then and now.
While the country's football fraternity was waiting with bated breath to hear what the PSL had to say about the contentious Kaizer Chiefs saga, Khoza rambled on at length about the Player Transition Programme, a project designed to help players prepare for life after soccer.
Adding to the misery of the captive audience, speakers from MultiChoice, the sponsors of the Player Transition Programme, had their say too on live television.
Like the Compact Cup, the Player Transition Programme was all well and good, but it was hardly what the viewers wanted to hear at a time when the acclaimed Chiefs, the country's biggest Premiership club, failed to show up for two consecutive matches.
Eventually, Khoza touched on the contentious matter of Chiefs who were physically unable to field a team for two matches in December. At the time, Chiefs were severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic and over 30 people (players and staff) were affected. Later on, that figure grew to 52 members.
In the interest of safety and health precautions, Chiefs closed the club and players and management staff self-isolated.
Khoza said he knew that the football fraternity was expecting answers on the Chiefs saga. However, in a roundabout way, he explained that the matter was sub judice. He said the PSL's legal department, now headed by Advocate Zola Majavu, who has returned for a second spell as a PSL prosecutor, will deal with the matter.
"There has been big debate to say the matter of Kaizer Chiefs took too long,” said Khoza.
“Yes, it took so long because of the complexity of the matter.
"The PSL fixtures affect a lot of people and a lot of stakeholders. The PSL is a members’ organisation with their rules. The process dictates that there must be fairness and uniformity in dealing with matters around fixtures.
"We need to make sure we accommodate the members and not just deal with the rules punitive. The manual dictates that the football department is the one that deals with the fixtures.
“I know the media is waiting for us to make pronouncements. This matter is part of a process. As the (PSL) executive committee, we declined the request (to postpone matches in December).
“As the executive, we met for the first time on 3rd December [26 days ago] after we received the letter from Kaizer Chiefs.
“Having considered all the facts that were brought to us, as the executive committee we declined the request, and the matter is with the legal divisions.
"It’s not easy for me to talk about the details because the process is still ongoing.
"As we speak, the matter is between our legal division and Chiefs."
While still clarifying the matter, it was mind-boggling to hear Khoza refer to the Royal AM-Sekhukhune debacle.
"We (the PSL) did the same when we dealt with the Royal AM-Sekhukhune issue and will do the same now," said Khoza.
The Royal AM-Sekhukhune debacle was a totally different matter, and the Chiefs saga could never be mentioned in the same breath.
Although Khoza did not share information about Chiefs' response or its subsequent contact with the PSL, AmaKhosi supremo Kaizer Motaung has said he was "dumbfounded" by the PSL's decision to decline the request to postpone matches.
"We do hope sanity and rationality will prevail at the end of the day," said Motaung.
In a veiled reference to the FA's decision to postpone matches in England after clubs were hit by the pandemic, Motaung said: "We also need to learn from the examples of other top leagues in the world."
It may just be these Motaung comments have caused the PSL's legal eagles to mark time for now!