Absa Premiership

Sundowns could be charged for breach

NO-GO AREA: Orlando Pirates supporters could not contain their anger at Loftus and invaded the pitch. (Sydney Seshibedi, Gallo Images)
NO-GO AREA: Orlando Pirates supporters could not contain their anger at Loftus and invaded the pitch. (Sydney Seshibedi, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - A week after the violent events at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is yet to act.

The league could not provide clear answers as to who should shoulder the blame for the incident that saw Orlando Pirates supporters invading the pitch when their team was trailing 6-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns.

This resulted in the game being suspended for more than 30 minutes.

PSL spokesperson Luxolo September said it would be unfair to apportion blame to anyone or to speculate at this point.

“There is an ongoing process [currently with the prosecutor] – let us give space to that process.

“It would be unfair of the league to speculate about this. The league process will be followed. If the prosecutor is of the view that there is misconduct, there will be charges and the disciplinary committee will deal with the matter.

"As regards to other types of fault, there are, no doubt, various investigations on the go and there will be competing views. To have a view now would not only be inappropriate, but unfair.”

Valuable lesson

September said no one had been charged yet and that they would await the prosecutor’s direction on the matter.

But according to the National Soccer League handbook, which was adopted in November, Mamelodi Sundowns could be charged for Orlando Pirates’ supporters’ behaviour.

It is the home club’s responsibility to provide adequate security at its venue, irrespective of supporters’ affiliation.

But the league has discretion to prosecute the visiting member club when its spectators are responsible for improper conduct.

September said three cases – public violence, malicious damage to property and possession of stolen property – had been opened.

“The case of stolen property related to a cellphone that was later recovered and the person was arrested.”

He said the league had learnt a valuable lesson from the incident.

“Safety is non-negotiable and it is essential to do our best to remain as vigilant as possible and to learn continuously – and to seek to engage other stakeholders if we can. There is a national law dealing with safety for a reason.

“It is not an easy matter to deal with and we will no doubt always be accused of not doing enough. Our aim is to do our level best to find ways to deal with this sort of conduct. If this matter teaches us something, it is to keep doing that – to listen to other views and to increase our efforts.”

Achieve their mandate

He said the game was given a B-category (medium risk) status “based on the decision of the police in line with Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act 2 of 2010 section 6(7)(a) – (u)”.

Low risk is when the event organiser (club) does everything that relates to safety and security and only informs the police.

Medium risk entails the police taking the lead on safety and security and the organiser helping the police achieve their mandate.

High risk means that, after getting the categorisation from the SA Police Service, the organiser must apply for a high-risk safety certificate from the national commissioner.

The police take the lead on safety and security and the organiser helps the police to achieve their mandate.