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Loftus chaos: PSL sitting on a ticking time bomb

Opinion

JOHANNESBURG - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is sleepwalking its way to a crisis.

For a second time this season in a match involving Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, lives were at stake. On February 11, when the Brazilians humiliated the Buccaneers with a 6-0 scoreline, the epic clash was marred by disturbing scenes of fan violence and TV blackouts as a section of the supporters (most of them wearing Pirates regalia) tempered with broadcast cables and forced the referee to temporarily abandon the match after the 80th minute.

To date, there has been no finality to the chaos at Loftus Versfeld. Those who were responsible have not been brought to book.

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Orlando Pirates fans invade the pitch during February's defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The two clubs have been issued with charge sheets, but are yet to appear before the PSL Disciplinary Committee (DC) - nearly three months later.

It’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Plenty of questions continue to linger regarding the decisions leading up to that Absa Premiership fixture, like why a game as attractive as that and often enjoying a decent crowd can be downgraded to category B instead of A, meaning it then required fewer security personnel. Those dispatched to the venue were overwhelmed by the fans who stormed onto the pitch when Sundowns scored their sixth goal.

With that dark cloud still hanging over their heads, Pirates hosted Sundowns at the weekend in Soweto and, as expected, there was a bit more police presence than in the corresponding fixture. Any unruly fans were dealt with during the match - or so we thought - as the Brazilians won 2-0 this time around.

It has since become public knowledge that one Johannes Maseko, a diehard Sundowns fan, was beaten to a pulp at the end of the game, allegedly by Pirates supporters who accused him of being too loud.

Angry Pirates fans invade the pitch. Picture: Twitter

Imagine. Maseko had to be admitted to hospital on Saturday night, but discharged the next day, although he suffered cracked ribs and several other injuries. He’s chosen not to press charges - “for the love of the game”.

But the PSL has to act swiftly.

It’s mind-boggling that almost three months since the first offence no arrests have been made, at least not that we know of. Prior to the TV cables being ripped apart, there was enough footage there to spot the perpetrators from both sets of fans. Social media was littered with images of these hooligans, proving that this case is not as complex as PSL prosecutor Naude Becker made it out to be in a radio interview earlier this week.

That is another subject that got my knickers in a knot. The league’s disciplinary committee appears to be at it’s lowest ebb, as toothless as they come.

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

It hardly takes on cases that seem to matter most, but quick to act on those that seem a low priority - like charging a club for not handing out team sheets an hour before the game.

Naude is fast on the trigger when a lower division team abuse a referee, for instance, and most recently the disciplinary committee have been obsessed with the Luc Eymael case. We get weekly updates on why the Belgian coach, who took a job at Bloemfontein Celtic barely two days after resigning at Polokwane City, has been ordered back to his old club, but dololo (zero) notifications on clamping down on unruly fans.

This is a recipe for disaster.

The Star

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