Judge Corne van Zyl has reserved judgement in the Bloemfontein High Court regarding the urgent interdict sought by the Cheetahs Rugby Union against Lionel Mapoe and the Sharks. The matter was heard yesterday, but van Zyl has given no indication as to when his ruling can be expected, or will be made public.
Mapoe’s counsel, Robert Stelzner, who is also representing the Sharks in this matter, argued that the court had not had enough time to hear all of the relevant information – since the case was by no means as cut and dried as the Cheetahs would have the judge believe – and that van Zyl should refer the matter to arbitration. It seems an interesting gambit from Stelzner, since the previous arbitration hearing found in favour of the Cheetahs. Notwithstanding that ruling, Mapoe has refused to return to his pittance of a salary in Bloemfontein and has remained in Durban, training with the Sharks.
Stelzner further submitted that a breakdown in trust between the player and his employer made it impossible for Mapoe to return to the Cheetahs, since Mapoe felt that he had been misled, as well as discriminated against by the Union. There was also the matter of a withheld salary payment, which Stelzner argues may render the contract null and void.
Cheetahs council Johann Daffue countered that the Cheetahs could not be expected to carry on paying Mapoe while he was AWOl and training in another team’s colours. He asked Judge van Zyl to rule that Mapoe should be legally required to return to the Cheetahs team, or else be found in comtempt.
So, in short, we’re back at a stalemate situation. I’m guessing that the Sharks simply want to get out of the High Court (where these matters probably don’t belong) and back around the negotiating table provided by an arbitration hearing, so that the process of negotiating a fair transfer fee can begin. I’m not sure what the Cheetahs are hoping to achieve. Then again, maybe they aren’t either.
More on this as it develops, you can be sure!Tweet