The Free State’s ABC Motsepe League is in shambles. This follows boardroom decisions arising from disputes involving four clubs plus Safa Free State as respondent. The teams are Kovsie FC, the men’s team of the University of the Free State, Clever Boys, Mangaung Unite and Black Cross.

One judgement saw the Kovsie FC men’s side re­instated to the ABC Motsepe League, while the other found FC Black Cross in no wrong fielding, Kamogelo Wolf, despite the player not being legally registered by Safa Free State.

Kovsie’s dispute emanated from a hearing in which it had three points docked and awarded to Clever Boys FC in a fixture played on 15 December 2021. The UFS team was relegated following the decision. Kovsie took the dispute for arbitration challenging the Appeals Board’s decision to uphold Safa’s Free State disciplinary committee decision on 31 March 2022.

Arbitrator Nazeem Ferris ruled in favour of Kovsie on 2 February, overturning the initial ruling made by Daniel Thulo, Safa Free State disciplinary committee chairperson, on 23 January and the Appeals Board’s decision. The previous league fixture between Kovsie and Clever Boys was abandoned at Glen College, the home ground of the latter team. The arbitrator indicated the cause of abandonment to the shortcomings of Clever boys FC, which did not comply with the health and safety of Covid-19 as part of the state of disaster. Ferris indicated health and safety regulation was and still remains of paramount importance at the pointing time of the abandoned league match.

The arbitrator further ordered a replay of the fixture between Clever Boys and Kovsie last Sunday (05/03), which ended 0–0. The result meant Kovsie was not relegated as the team needed a point to avoid relegation in the previous season of 2021. Safa Free State as the respondent in the matter was ordered to pay the legal cost party and party, which include that of the arbitrator.

In the case between Mangaung FC and Black Cross, Thulo ruled in favour of the latter club despite admitting Wolf was registered without a Fifa International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from Lesotho’s football outfit Bantu FC. The player had an unsuccessful stint with Lesotho’s premier division side. In South Africa, Wolf also had a stint with the now defunct Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams Ajax Cape Town FC and Bloemfontein Celtic FC and Jomo Cosmos among other top-flight clubs. He is a graduate of the Safa u.20 junior team and Harmony Sports Academy in Virginia.

Thulo stated in the judgement delivered on Monday (07/03): “I find that no case has been made out against Black Cross and the complainant (Mangaung) stands to be dismissed. No report and/or documentation of any kind was provided by Safa Free State to confirm or disprove the allegations levelled against Black Cross FC, prior or during the sitting of the hearing. No explanation was provided also as to why the hearing was held in terms of Article 109.” Thulo further pointed that Safa Free State, as the party that bore the onus in terms of the Article mentioned, led no evidence or provided any evidence during the hearing, in support of either of the parties. Thulo ordered that Mangaung and Safa Free State bear the costs of sittings.