Unruly

2017-03-01 10:13
Enoch Molefe, Premier Soccer League’s match commissioner (right) addresses the Bloemfontein Celtic and Platinum Stars technical teams, as well as the media, after the violence erupted.Photos: Teboho Setena

Enoch Molefe, Premier Soccer League’s match commissioner (right) addresses the Bloemfontein Celtic and Platinum Stars technical teams, as well as the media, after the violence erupted.Photos: Teboho Setena

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Bloemfontein Celtic faces the prospect of being punished harshly by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) after another rampage by unruly fans.

Rebellious fans caused another ugly scene last Saturday (25/02) when they invaded the pitch, throwing objects and damaging a number of seats in the Dr R.P. Molemela Stadium in reaction to Celtic’s 0-3 defeat to Platinum Stars in an Absa Premiership League encounter.

The unruly behaviour forced the match to be stopped for approximately five minutes to allow police members of the Public Order Policing to control the unruly fans.

Young children were seen running for cover, their lives endangered by the riot threatening to go out of control.

This is the second incident at home in three months and the third in over a year. The first was in February last year at the Orlando Stadium and the second was last year in October in Bloemfontein. In all these incidents, angry fans ripped up seats at the stadiums and attempted to set some on fire.

The second incident in October at home was in reaction to Celtic’s third straight defeat at home under former coach Serame Letsoaka. The Mangaung giants lost by 1-2 to Bidvest Wits. The unsporting behaviour by fans forced Celtic to part ways with Letsoaka.

Unsporting conduct by fans is prompted by their dismal form, which sees Phunya Sele Sele fighting relegation.

Sello Nduna, Celtic public relations officer, says the club is yet to appear before the PSL disciplinary committee to be charged for the incident in October last year, condemning the latest incident.

“Such unsporting behaviour by fans, jumping over the fence, invading the pitch and throwing objects onto the pitch is costing the club in every respect, financially and in terms of its reputation. It also endangers children. We always encourage families to bring their children to stadiums to watch football, because we believe football is a good outing for children to learn the importance of sport. But the violence shown by some unruly fans is certainly unsafe for football-loving people,” says Nduna.

He says supporters for whom violence is second nature continues to get the team into serious trouble.

The angry reaction saw fans chase away the players who would, traditionally, peacefully wave to the supporters before and after games.

Nduna says the club’s ma­nagement is yet to receive communication from the PSL and the report of the match commissioner. Respected retired referee Enoch Molefe was appointed as the match commissioner for the fixture.

Celtic’s management are also expected to have to account for damage fans caused. The club has a one-year lease agreement with the Mangaung Metro Council. It is unclear if the council or the club will be held accountable for damages.

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