Highlanders have abandoned the battle to stay in the BancABC Sup8r after deciding not to appeal against the decision to award the abandoned semi-final to Dynamos.
Dynamos will now play Caps United in the final on December 11, to end the rather chaotic 2010 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season.
According to highly-placed sources, Highlanders made the decision Thursday after consultations with various stakeholders, who advised them to put the matter to rest for the sake of those battling for a Dynamos-Caps United final and to avoid taking football matters to the courts.
Highlanders chairman Themba Ndlela, caught up in a meeting last night, could only say: “We are not in the BancABC.”
The ill-fated match was played on August 21 but was abandoned after Highlanders protested a penalty awarded to Dynamos nine minutes from full time with the Harare giants leading 1-0.
The match had earlier been stopped after Dynamos protested a penalty awarded to Highlanders.
An ad hoc committee set up to arbitrate on the match awarded it to Dynamos on a 3–0 scoreline after holding Highlanders responsible for the behaviour of their fans and the subsequent abandonment of the match.
Feeling shortchanged, Highlanders approached the High Court to stop the final between Dynamos and Caps United initially set for October 2 and won the case pending a review of the ad hoc committee decision.
The PSL then engaged the clubs concerned, with Bosso indicating they were ready for a replay at a neutral venue while Dynamos maintained that they would only play the remaining nine minutes.
The matter was then referred to the Zifa board for adjudication, who ruled that the match should be played in full at the National Sports Stadium last month.
However, Dynamos players failed to pitch up at the venue, arguing that they had already been awarded the match by the body authorised to deal with the dispute.
Zifa, the highest authority in local football, surprisingly dragged the issue back to the PSL so that they could resolve it in “terms of the PSL statutes and the competitions rules and regulations”.
The PSL set up another ad hoc committee to look into the matter and were on record saying their decision this time around would be binding.
Part of their judgment, which however blamed both teams and the match referee for the abandonment of the August 21 match, read: “This committee takes a serious view of the action of both teams on the 23rd of August 2010 (August 21).
Clearly and for the good of the game, stern and swift action needs to be taken against the two clubs, players and officials involved.
“Further, the match officiating on the day left a lot to be admired. However, the mandate of this committee is not to review the decision of (disciplinary committee chairman Don) Moyo’s committee. We do not possess such power.
“Having held as we did that the decision of the Zifa board is of no force or effect, it follows that the decision of Moyo’s committee is the one in force. That decision awarded the match to Dynamos on a 3-0 scoreline.”