Violence worries PSL

HARARE - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is worried by recurring violence at many of their matches which they feel is scaring away fans and potential sponsors. 

At the weekend, Highlanders fans attacked their Harare City counterparts during the first half of their Chibuku Super Cup first round encounter at Mandava Stadium.

The match had to be stopped for 13 minutes as the Sunshine Boys fans invaded the pitch to escape the attack from the Bosso hooligans.

It is not only Highlanders fans that have caused problems in recent times but a number of teams including Dynamos and CAPS United have been fined for various indiscretions by their supporters.

PSL chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele admitted that violence was a huge problem but it will take a lot of effort not only from the league but all stakeholders to end the scourge.

“The issue of violence is a huge concern, its needs more than the clubs, more than the league; it’s a societal problem,” Ndebele told the Daily News.

“At all matches, the police try to search people at the gates but there is smuggling of alcohol.

“Even without the smuggling of alcohol, there are many things that are intoxicating people which we now understand is affecting some of our players.

“It’s a huge societal problem and our match organisation needs to improve and we need to tighten our security.

“You cannot take your kid to watch a football match and the next thing you see spectators being attended to by medics after they have been attacked for nothing.

“I don’t understand it, how can someone pay money to enter a stadium to attack rival supporters?

“The clubs are complaining about the cost of paying the police but at the same time, we seem to have a problem with crowd control.”

Any club that sees its fans cause trouble is automatically fined

$2 000 by the league but that seems not to discourage the unruly behaviour.

While some feel the fines are not deterrent enough, hence the league’s failure to curb the violence at their matches, Ndebele disagrees.

“For your own information; at the AGM this year there was a request by some of the clubs to reduce the fines and the governors said no,” he said.

“Normally, the clubs with a huge following are the ones that are feeling the heat and they tried to present their case and the rest of the governors declined.

“The clubs are feeling the heat, I can tell you; $2 000 is a lot of money because with the dwindling attendances most clubs are making loses.

“The big clubs are no longer attracting those big numbers, there are a lot of factors; the cash situation, other counter attractions like the English Premier League and most people are now spending most of their times in churches at the weekend.

“So, $2 000 is a huge sum because clubs do not net that on a weekly basis but we are very much concerned about issues of violence.”

In a bid to try and educate clubs on crowd control and match day organisation, the PSL is rolling out a plan to empower stewards for all the top flight teams.

“I’m happy that we managed to hold a workshop for the Dynamos stewards two weeks ago and the next day I saw someone posting on social media that they didn’t have a problem accessing the stadium,” Ndebele said.

“I would like to thank Dynamos for providing 20 of their stewards to attend a full day workshop which was conducted by Brighton Mudzamiri and Lovemore Marange.

“We want to spread this programme right across the league and see how it improves our match day organisation.”

* Don’t miss tomorrow’s edition of the Daily News to read Kenny Ndebele’s full interview in which he talks about other burning issues affecting the PSL.    

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