Absa Premiership

PSL's police deal has hollow ring

Irvin Khoza (Gallo Images)
Irvin Khoza (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - It all sounded admirable and commendable when PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza on Thursday announced a partnership with the South African Police Services against crime generally and crowd behaviour in particular.

But a disturbing reminder of how the PSL has failed to act forcibly against the rioting of Kaizer Chiefs' fans during Amakhosi's defeat against Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in April has inserted a hollow ring to the much-trumpeted enterprise - particularly as no exact details have been revealed except to say the partnership with SAPS will be launched at nine so-called festivals of the minor, reserve league Diski Challenge competition.

It is now more than four months after Chiefs pleaded guilty at a PSL Disciplinary Committee hearing to the rioting of their fans at Durban's Mabhida Stadium - one of the ugliest outbreaks of its kind in years - with no sentence yet delivered.    

And this failure to administer what would seem urgent justice has raised disturbing claims of autocratic double standards within the PSL administration - notwithstanding the claims that the matter is of such a delicate and far-reaching nature as to require time to come up with a suitable sentence.     

Further provoking an element of disquiet is the suggestion by one official that the PSL are attempting to divorce the Mabhida Stadium mayhem from the R200 000 suspended fine hanging over Chiefs following a similar outbreak of violence by their fans at the Premier League game against Chippa Stars only weeks before the fateful Nedbank Cup semi-final.    

A PSL source has made the dubious claim that the Nedbank Cup fracas might be viewed as unrelated to the suspended fine because the security in Durban was under the control of the PSL administration unlike that at the game against Chippa United when Chiefs were in charge of security - all this despite crowd violence being the main issue in both instances.    

Attempts to elicit further information on the cases in hand from various PSL officials all drew the same response - "we'll come back to you later."   

And later, not surprisingly, has yet to materialise.   

Also, it will be recalled, that when Orlando Pirates fans rioted two seasons ago following on a humiliating 6-0 defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns, it took the PSL a seemingly endless 14 months before The Buccaneers were finally sentenced - with a home game behind closed doors part of the  kid gloves punishment and Khoza, who is the Pirates boss, claiming Sundowns were a guilty party as well as the home team.  

Chiefs, it would seem, are in a greater predicament because of their fans behaviour on two occasions, despite the club's guilty pronouncement regarding the Durban rioting when one security official was viciously attacked, 14 other spectators badly injured and TV and radio equipment and stadium amenities damage extending into millions.