All South African football lovers are eagerly waiting for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to release the schedule for the upcoming 2021/22 football season. Well, the wait is about to end but a little more patience is needed. The PSL advised that the schedule for the upcoming season will only be released once everything to do with the 2020/21 season has been wrapped up. Unfortunately, there are some things still in the balance with regards to promotion and relegation places hence the long wait.
Delayed Schedule Release
The corona virus pandemic which wrecked havoc in South Africa as it did in other regions across the world over the past year affected many things including also the fulfillment of fixtures. Largely hit was the GladAfrica Championship, the second tier of the South African football system which saw a majority of fixtures postponed up until the business-end of the original schedule draft. This in turn meant that the fulfillment of fixtures to determine the teams to be promoted to the DSTv Premiership would take longer than expected.
Optimism for the Future
Well, in a statement, the PSL advised that it had released dates and fixtures for the promotion-relegation playoffs. In the statement, it also took time to officially state that Sekhukhune United, the winners of the GladAfrica Championship had been promoted to the DSTv Premiership. Black Leopards which is the 16th placed team in the just ended DSTv Premiership will swap places with Sekhukhune United meaning it will be playing in the GladAfrica Championship in the upcoming season.
For the promotion-relegation playoffs, the 15th placed team in the just ended DSTv Premiership will play against the runners up as well as the 3rd placed team of the GladAfrica Championship for the chance to win a spot in the prestigious DSTv Premiership for 2021/22 season. The runners up of the GladAfrica Championship for last season are Royal AM while the third placed finishers are Richards Bay. The three teams face each other in a three-team playoff battle.
The schedule of the promotion-relegation playoffs commenced on 15 June and will end on 30 June. The format of the playoffs will see each team face the other teams twice with the team with the most points getting their place in the upcoming DSTv Premiership 2021/22 season.
Richards Bay and Royal AM face each other on Tuesday 15, June and later on, on Thursday 24, June. Chippa United will face Richards Bay on Friday 18 June and later on, on Sunday 27 June. Royal AM and Chippa United face each other on Monday 21 June and later on, on Wednesday 30 June.
While the PSL decision to release fixtures may give a picture that everything is on point, the teams participating in the playoffs Richards Bay, Royal AM and the championship winners Sekhukhune United are embroiled in legal challenges.
Royal AM following one court judgment failed to fulfill its playoff fixture citing the judgment which stated it was the rightful championship winners hence no need to partake in the playoffs. Sekhukhune United on the other hand is contesting the decision saying it’s the deserved champion. Richards Bay on the other hand is pressurizing the PSL to award it 3 points for the fixture that was not fulfilled owing to Royal AM’s absence. With everything at this point in some sort of disarray and confusion, it’s a wait and see game on how the courts and the PSL will handle everything.
For those football lovers eager to see the schedules of their teams for the upcoming season, they will have to wait a bit.