Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
FOOTBALL authorities have roundly condemned the barbaric episodes of violence and hooliganism which rocked the domestic Premiership during mid-week. The chaos, which all resulted from questionable decisions by the match officials, have also brought back to the fore debate over the refereeing standards in the country.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said violence had no place in football.
Missile-throwing supporters forced a 16-minute stoppage in the match between Dynamos and FC Platinum at Rufaro.
The match between CAPS and Chicken Inn was also disrupted for six minutes at Barbourfields while the referee Happy Mabhena had to be escorted out of the stadium by security details.
There were also skirmishes in Kariba where Highlanders drew 1-1 with the hosts ZPC Kariba.
“We have seen footage circulating on social media depicting acts of hooliganism and violent scenes in some PSL matches played yesterday,’’ said Gwesela.
“We are waiting for the match commissioners’ reports which we will study meticulously. However, let me hasten to state that violence and hooliganism have no place in our beautiful game. We are now in the new millennium where football celebrates tenets of fair play, respect, peace and tranquillity.
“The association will also examine the footage and all these heinous elements causing mayhem will be identified and brought to book. ZIFA will also invoke football statutes to ensure that these ghastly and violent elements are banned from attending our matches. We also appeal to the police to ensure that these hoodlums are prosecuted.’’
The Premier Soccer League called for clubs and supporters to respect the rules of the game and also urged the ZIFA Referees’ Committee to investigate the rising reports of questionable officiating by their members.
“The Premier Soccer League is appalled by skirmishes and match disturbances that took place during Castle Lager PSL Matchday 27 fixtures played on Wednesday 30 October 2019,’’ league spokesperson Kudzai Bare said. “The PSL strongly condemns the unacceptable behaviour witnessed at Rufaro Stadium during a match between Dynamos v FC Platinum, ZPC Kariba FC v Highlanders FC at Nyamhunga Stadium and Chicken Inn v CAPS United FC at Barbourfields Stadium.“Hooliganism has no place in our football and as such we urge football fans, players and administrators to respect the referee’s decision, to abide by the rules and regulations of the competition and to act in a responsible manner.
“We further advise all stakeholders to know, understand and respect the 17 FIFA Laws of the game. We also call upon the ZIFA Referees’ Committee to investigate clubs’ complaints of poor match officiating.
“The league is committed to taking decisive and appropriate action and will work closely with law enforcement agents to ensure that those responsible for this hooliganism are brought to book.
“The league is currently awaiting reports from all the relevant parties.”
Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya also condemned the disturbances that rocked their match against FC Platinum.
Ndiraya said referees must up their game to avoid “provoking” similar incidents in the future.
“I don’t condone such behaviour but sometimes if you are provoked what can you do?’’ said Ndiraya.
“They thought their team was being treated unfairly and they are right (to vent their feelings) but in the end what I am not happy about is (the violence).
“Of course, you can voice your anger but we must raise ourselves to another level. The era of disturbing the play and the proceedings is long gone.
“I think we must get to another level; I think there are better ways of voicing our concerns without being violent.
“The referees, too, I am sure there are also told at some point to manage the game and control supporters.’’