Dynamos have been awarded the BancABC Sup8r semi-final soccer match played at Barbourfields Stadium on August 21 after Highlanders were found guilty of causing the abandonment of the game.
The Harare side got the game on a 3-0 scoreline and will now play Caps United in the final.
The verdict cannot be contested. Highlanders secretary Andrew Tapela said he had not seen the judgment and refused to comment.
The decision was arrived at at the weekend by a three man ad-hoc committee chaired by lawyer Don Moyo, sitting with former referee Brighton Mudzamiri and Premier Soccer League (PSL) board member (development) Cuthbert Chitima.
The trio reached the judgment after receiving reports from referee Brighton Malandule, Highlanders and Dynamos’ reports, police report provided by the Officer in Charge at Njube Police Station and a DVD of the game.
Malandule’s report was to the effect that while Dynamos was leading 1 – 0 he awarded a penalty to Highlanders in the 70th minute. This was after a Highlanders striker had been “carelessly tackled in the penalty area”.
“The Dynamos players vigorously protested his decision resulting in the referee cautioning their captain George Magariro by issuing him a yellow card.
“He further states that while he was being mobbed by the Dynamos players, one of their players Phillip Sithole was hit by a missile thrown from the swimming pool end of Barbourfields which was occupied by Highlanders supporters.
“He further states that the first assistant referee A. Manda observed a Dynamos player Washington Arubi making an obscene gesture towards the aforementioned fans, whilst another Dynamos player Ashley Rambanepasi threw back a missile towards the same fans.
“Thereafter Dynamos players walked off the pitch after being summoned by their coach Elvis Chiweshe and team manager Nyika Chifamba. They stayed in their dressing room for 35 minutes after which they got back on the field of play to continue with the match but playing under protest.
“The referee continued with the game, the penalty was taken by Highlanders and saved by the Dynamos goalkeeper. In the 81st minute the referee awarded Dynamos a penalty after a ‘holding offence’ by a Highlanders player.
“The Highlanders players protested his decision. They were called off the pitch by their technical manager M. Fathi and remained in their dressing room for 28 minutes.
“After the Highlanders players came back to the field of play he called both captains and advised them that due to bad light it was no longer possible to continue with the game.
“In terms of the laws of the game the referee is the man in charge and if he continues with the game, it cannot be alleged, as Highlanders does, that the game had been abandoned.
“Interpretation of rule 5.6 in our view is that as long as play resumed and continued after the 70th minute, Dynamos’ act of leaving the field cannot be classified as leaving the stadium before the end of the match or refusing to play.
“Highlanders are therefore incorrect to hold the view that after resumption of the match in the 71st minute the game was now a social match and had been abandoned. It is common cause that there were two walkouts involving both Dynamos and Highlanders.
“The reason given by Dynamos is that of safety of their players. It cannot be disputed that missiles were raining onto the pitch and that one of their players was stretchered off the pitch after being struck by a missile.
“We make a finding that because of threat to their safety Dynamos walked off the pitch.
“As to the point of which they themselves walked off the pitch they blame poor refereeing and because of poor refereeing their fans were incensed, started throwing missiles onto the pitch and threatened them and made it impossible to continue with the game. The fans even blocked the tunnel. We make a finding that Highlanders supporters and Highlanders coach were responsible for Highlanders leaving the field of play.
“The legal position is that in terms of the Premier Soccer League rules and regulations, rule 17, 4 thereof the home team shall be responsible for the behaviour of its spectators, before, during and after match until the stadium is cleared of all persons.
“In the circumstances we find Highlanders responsible for the unsporting, rowdy and riotous behaviour of its supporters as Highlanders were the home team.
“Ultimately we find Highlanders responsible for the abandonment of the match.
“Having made the finding that Highlanders were responsible for the abandonment of the match we pronounce and declare that the match in which Highlanders took part as lost by the club concerned and won by Dynamos on a 3 –0 scoreline as per the rules.”