The management of Township Rollers is not relenting on their course to seek the intervention of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in their case that saw them lose ten points and have their player Ofentse Nato declared a defaulter.
This is despite the rolecent ruling by the BFA National Disciplinary Committee that Township Rollers be reimbursed seven of the points deducted from them by Botswana Premier League chairperson Rapula Okaile. The BFA NDC recently reversed Rollers’ seven points citing that acting BPL chairman Okaile acted outside his powers to dock Rollers 10 points as punishment without taking the latter through a hearing. However, the committee maintained that Nato was still a defaulter and ruled that only three points be deducted and P1000 be paid within 14 days.
Township Rollers’ spokesperson Phempheretlhe Pheto said the latest development will however not make them withdraw their case in Switzerland. “NDC is saying Nato is a defaulter and we think we have registered Nato properly so we are not going to drop this case despite NDC’s ruling,” Pheto said. The NDC ruling also slapped Okaile with charges after the latter issued directives that Rollers should be docked ten points in the process pronouncing Mochudi Centre Chiefs as champions, which action according to NDC was prejudicial to BFA reputation.
The NDC was this week expected to send Okaile a letter requesting him to show cause why disciplinary action cannot be taken against him in respect of the recent order to dock Rollers ten points instead of three.Rollers have since appointed Johan Van Gaalen to be their representative in the case before CAS following a directive from the international court’s Deputy Secretary General William Sternheimer. On May 6, Sternheimer requested that Rollers nominate an arbitrator chosen from the CAS list and an opportunity to bring their own legal representative if they were not satisfied with the list they were given.
Choosing an arbitrator would complete Rollers’ appeal. The club was given three days after receipt of the letter to have chosen their lawyer, and Paul Mitchel - Ofentse Nato’s agent - recommended Van Gaalen to Rollers’ management.Rollers club financier Jagdish Shah and club secretary general Khumo Masonya have since been to South Africa to meet the world’s top sports lawyer. Pheto confirmed that they had identified their representative who would fight in their corner in Lausanne, Switzerland, but refused to confirm the identity of the lawyer.
Van Gaalen specialises in sports, entertainment and labour law and has in the past handled high profile cases. He is currently a member of FIFPRO legal advisory committee and mostly works with football players’ agents. Last week CAS was expected to announce the date for Rollers’ hearing but instead they requested for Gilport’s heads of argument. By press time it was not yet clear whether Gilport had submitted as per CAS request.