Johannesburg – On Monday, the Premier Soccer League (PSL), issued the following statement on disciplinary committee outcomes:
“The following member clubs appeared before the Premier Soccer League disciplinary committee on various charges.
Black Leopards FC:
The club was charged with contravening the compliance manual and kit manual of the league after it used a playing kit during the opening match of the Absa Premiership on 4 August 2018 against Polokwane City without prior approval from the league.
Black Leopards pleaded guilty and were handed a fine of R100 000 suspended for 24 months on condition that the club is not found guilty of a similar offence.
Bloemfontein Celtic FC:
The club was charged with contravening the NSL [National Soccer League] compliance and kit manual after it [used] a playing kit during their Absa Premiership fixture against Chippa United on 5 August 2018 without obtaining prior approval from the league.
Bloemfontein Celtic pleaded guilty and were handed a fine of R100 000 suspended for 24 months on condition that the club is not found guilty of a similar offence.”
For some reason, I found myself asking: “What’s so familiar about this statement? Why does it sound like I have read or heard this before?”
Then the penny dropped. There have been a number of cases, even more serious than the two mentioned above, where clubs got away with a slight slap on the wrist instead of a serious rap on the knuckles.
It has become the norm that, after a sitting and after finding a club (or an individual, for that matter) guilty, the PSL disciplinary committee (DC) hands down a suspended sanction.
Some might argue that the contraventions mentioned above were just minor misdemeanours, but the compliance manual was hailed as a bible and a sacrosanct document to which clubs must adhere for dear life when it was introduced.
If that is indeed the case, one would expect the PSL to come down heavily on any club that violates any rules contained in this document. It has become the norm for the DC to not only take a long time in finalising matters, but also hand down suspended sentences.
This is actually becoming a joke – if not an absurdity.
In one of the most serious cases, it took more than a year after Orlando Pirates supporters went berserk and stormed the pitch, destroying property including television cables when their club was being walloped 6-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns, for the DC to find them guilty on February 11.
Pirates were ordered “to play two matches behind closed doors – with one of those matches suspended for 24 months”.
In another incident, Kaizer Chiefs fans ran riot, throwing missiles inside the FNB Stadium in April last year following a 3-0 drubbing by Chippa United.
The same DC found Amakhosi guilty and fined them a whopping R250 000 with R200 000 suspended‚ “provided the club are not found guilty of a similar offence for 24 months”.
This, in a nutshell, meant Chiefs paid R50 000.
We are still waiting to hear what kind of sentence this toothless (if not useless) DC will hand down for the mayhem caused by Chiefs fans after their club was eliminated from the Nedbank Cup by Free State Stars on April 21 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
This was a week after the sanction over the FNB Stadium incident was handed down.
The club pleaded guilty at a DC hearing on May 3 and judgment was postponed. When this judgment will come is anybody’s guess.
But given the above examples, one does not see any harsh or exemplary sanctions being issued against the club.
It is this lackadaisical approach to serious matters that leads to a situation where we sit with the unresolved issue of two football supporters – Johannes Nkosi and Prince Chauke – who were killed in a stampede at FNB Stadium during a match between … you’ve guessed correctly: Chiefs and Pirates.
In the Loftus Stadium incident, Augusto Palacios’ life was put in danger on the two occasions involving Chiefs. Steve Komphela had to scurry for his life.
If not even lives are taken seriously, what will jolt the current DC members into acting appropriately – or should they just be replaced with people with some grit who will take proper action?
. Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku