Fans, club face punishment

2019-04-17 06:01
Members of public order police try to control an unhappy crowd of Bloemfontein Celtic fans.

Members of public order police try to control an unhappy crowd of Bloemfontein Celtic fans.

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Bloemfontein Celtic faces harsh punishment by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) after another rampage by unruly supporters.

Rebellious fans caused another ugly scene last Sunday (14/04) when they forced the abrupt stoppage of a league fixture between Celtic and Cape Town City.

The match played at the Dr Rantlai Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein was stopped mid-way in the first stanza in the event when violence ensued between public order police members and a group of angry supporters. Unruly fans invaded the pitch and threw objects onto the pitch forcing abandonment of the game.

They further damaged several seats in the stadium.

The incident adds more woes to a trouble-ridden Celtic. The PSL announced on Monday (15/04) that Celtic would on 25 April appear before the disciplinary committee for failure to provide adequate security for the abandoned match and bringing the league, sponsors Absa, Safa, Caf and Fifa into disrepute.

The PSL instituted charges after receiving full reports from the match commissioner and other security role players on what transpired at the stadium where violence prevailed. The PSL has strongly denounced the action by fans that instigated the violence and has termed it acts of hooliganism.

The match referee called off the match after some supporters invaded the pitch and threw objects on the field.

Both teams’ players had to run for cover fearing for their lives. The hooliganism that started inside the stadium escalated to outside the venue. Then public police clashed with angry fans inside the stadium. They reacted by barricading the Moshoeshoe road to make it impossible for motorists to drive.

It is understood that the action was another attempt of the ongoing campaign to oust the incumbent Celtic’s chairman Max Tshabalala and force him to sell the club. Some fans have spoken publicly that they want Tshabalala out and that he must sell the team to a consortium that has already tabled an offer to purchase.

Die-hard Celtic supporters have embarked on a series of campaigns that include meeting the leadership of the Free State government to intervene. However, these steps prove fruitless.

The campaign by fans comes in the wake of Celtic facing a lawsuit by Standard Bank and a potential legal battle over the alleged breach of contract of the sale deal which proves to have gone sour. Tshabalala reportedly had agreed in principle to sell the club to two bidders, businesswoman Sinki Leshabane and Dr Moeketsi Mosola, Tshwane’s city manager.

There is talk that over R3 million was paid by the two partners Mosola and Leshabane to save the situation. Mosola and Leshabane are co-shareholders of Mangaung Unite, a team currently campaigning in the Free State stream of the ABC Motsepe League.

They made an offer in August 2018 to take the irresistible offer to manage Celtic, one of the decorated football clubs in the country’s elite rank.

Mosola and Leshabane, regarded as the lifesavers of Phunya Sele Sele, reportedly made an offer to purchase Celtic for reportedly R40 million after Tshabalala would not get his market price of R65 million.

Sealed as a last-ditch effort, the sale was influenced by among others, a pending application for liquidation by Standard Bank. The bank wants Celtic liquidated for allegedly failing to repay six home loans, of reportedly more than R4 million.

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