By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
HALLELUJAH…these were the words from the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) vice president, Patrick Mabasa.
This after the South African Football Association (SAFA) issued a media statement, stating that they have decided to throw their earlier decision to appeal to the court ruling that their legal battle with SASFA should be resolved through arbitration. SAFA’ sudden U-turn came hours before Their about turn came few moments before their Appeal could be argued before the full bench of the Johannesburg High Court yesterday (Monday, August 7)
SAFA had appealed an earlier Court decision which ruled that the Association was wrong to pass a resolution to exclude SASFA as an Associate member in its Congress in Nelspruit in 2015.
In an interview with Sports Focus, Mabasa argued that there was never any agreement reached between them (SASFA) and SAFA yesterday.
“We didn’t agree anything with SAFA, but they themselves decided to make an about turn to allow the matter to be resolved through arbitration as we have been maintaining all these time. Maybe they were advised that they were not going to win the appeal and to avoid embarrassment they decided otherwise,” said Mabasa who added that it is wrong of SAFA to mislead media that we have reached an agreement with them.
He continued that: “It’s a pity SAFA decided to drag this matter to this far for so long, but in the end we are singing the Hallelujahs as they have finally come through.”
SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble said the Association had been vindicated because it had always argued that the earlier ruling was wrong.
Further vindication for SAFA is that the matter will now be heard by the Independent
Arbitrator who is on the SAFA list of arbitrators (advocate W. Mokhari SC) and the arbitration will be conducted in terms of the SAFA statutes, rules and regulations.
All matters relating to costs in the High Court and Appeal Court will be decided by the Arbitrator.
SASFA are the custodians of school football in the country and have run some successfully competitions such as Danone Nations Cup (Under-12s), the McDonald U-14 Schools League, the COPA Coca Cola Cup and many more.