Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
PREMIER Soccer League chairman Farai Jere has made a passionate appeal to clubs and their fans to desist from violence and acts of hooliganism that are threatening to dent a successful conclusion n of the 2018 season.
Jere, whose recently elected leadership is on a mission to turn around the PSL fortunes and revive among other aspects spectator and more corporate interest in the domestic game, is worried about the impact the violence would have on the top-flight body.
The CAPS United president said last night that while he acknowledged that football was “always and remains a highly emotive game followed by billions around the globe we have witnessed a worrying trend of violence and hooliganism that has resurfaced at some stadiums across the country.”
“While our season programme has reached an exciting period with some teams fighting for the title and others against relegation we should not lose sight of the ethos of FIFA Fair Play.
“We condemn violence in the strongest possible terms and te PSL will come down hard on the hooligan element some of which has regrettably been target at an integral real part of the game, our referees.
“Our member clubs and supporters ought to accept results of matches and respect referees’ decisions. We have entrusted referees with adjudicating over our matches reports of referees being attacked are as regrettable as they are regressive at a time when we want our league to be on par with some of the best leagues in the world,” Jere said.
The PSL are not the only league to have recently been marred by the resurgence of acts of violence at matches with the Central Region Division One witnessing ugly scenes of hooliganism in the promotional decider between decider between TelOne and Tongogara at Ascot.
A week later at the same venue, some Highlanders hooligans resorted to violence to vent their frustrations over their team’s 4-1 defeat by Chapungu.
And just last Sunday, assistant referee Salani Ncube was a victim of a hooligan act when he was struck by one of the missiles thrown by some Dynamos fans in his direction.
The hooligans were contesting a call which the match officials had made against DeMbare, who are in a desperate fight against relegation.
Ncube could not continue with the game as a result of the injury.
Jere is however cognisant of the negative impact reports and images of violence would have on efforts to lure more business partners and sponsors to football in the country.
The ZIFA Referees Committee are also not amused at the threats being posed to the safety of their members by hooligans.
ZRC vice-chairman Gladmore Muzambi has been steadfast in his condemnation of violence and even called for more deterrent penalties.
The veteran administrator also urged players and coaches to behave responsibly and not engage in action that would incite their supporters.
Muzambi also called for more educational campaigns to raise the levels of awareness on the dangers of turning football venues into “hard hat areas’’.
“There is no doubt an urgent need to take swift, deterrent and publicised action.
“More educational campaigns for club officials and fans on the consequences of non-adherence are needed too,” Muzambi said.
The CAF Match commissioner also believes there is need to improve on the security at all matches.
“There is need to have adequate security that is also neutral and which can be able to quell any trouble without bias.
“The fear is while referees are an essential service who do not resort to industrial action, they may become reluctant to accept appointments involving clubs known to be perennial trouble causers,” Muzambi said.
Muzambi also claimed that there was a clique of coaches who always sought to find match officials as an alibi whenever results do not come their way.