Dynamos could have lost a substantial amount of money from gate takings in their match against Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday after it emerged that a well-orchestrated syndicate involving cashiers, municipal officials and some of the club’s security personnel took advantage of the slack security at the gates to pocket huge sums of money.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) yesterday said only 19 683 fans paid their way into the stadium and a total of $67 364 was grossed.
However, from an observer’s point of view, the supporters that entered the stadium could have easily exceeded that figure.
All four stadium bays were packed to the rafters and a large number of supporters who could not be accommodated in the stands watched the match standing in every open space available in the stadium.
The PSL yesterday said the stadium’s full capacity is 23 300, not taking into account the people who watched the match standing in the space in-between the stands.
Dynamos officials yesterday said an estimated 1 000 privileged card-carrying officials entered the stadium on Sunday.
This figure on its own looks very suspicious considering most non-paying officials paid their way into the stadium after their usual gate was closed.
Despite this sceptically inflated figure for VIP guests, at least 2 617 people were not accounted for, raising fears that a significant amount of money found its way into the wrong hands.
If calculated at the rest of the ground price of $3 per ticket, Dynamos could have lost $7 800.
Sources yesterday said there is a well-organised group involving the club security personnel, cashiers and some city council officials which takes advantage of the loose security at the gates to pocket money.
“There is a group of people who make a killing every week when Dynamos are playing. It’s a well-organised group that involves the city council officials who have keys to all the gates, club security and the cashiers.
“What they do is they deliberately slow down on admitting supporters to create huge queues. When it’s around kick-off time when people are pushing and shoving that is when they cash in.
“Because people will be rushing to get into the stadium, they won’t wait for their tickets. The person who will be assigned to check tickets pretend to be busy, thus people will pay but not get tickets. The money will obviously be shared between them,” said one source.
The revelation by our source could be true because this reporter did not receive his ticket when he paid his way into stadium at around 1536hrs using Gate 2.
Dynamos treasurer Webster Chikengezha also admitted his club was losing a lot of money from this scam.
“We have realised that the money we get from gate takings most of the time does not tally with the number of people that could be in the stadium. Sometimes we are told that only 12 000 or 8 000 people have paid when one can easily see that the number of people in the stadium exceeds that figure.
“We have realised that there are people who smuggle tickets and give them to their friends to sell outside the stadium claiming they are advance tickets. Yesterday (Sunday) we caught one of the guys who was selling genuine tickets and his two friends managed to flee. We handed the guy to the police and we are still waiting for their investigations,” said Chikengezha.
Chikengezha also clarified the chaos outside the stadium before the match which saw thousands of people including journalists and representatives from BancABC, the clubs’ main sponsor, being trapped outside.
“Of the 32 gates at Rufaro, eight of them were malfunctioning and that put pressure on those that were working. We were forced to open the big gate which normally does not serve that purpose and put four cashiers there as a way to ease pressure from the other gates.
“Concerning the gate used by VIPs, I personally assigned someone at around 1345hrs but was shocked when I heard that he had disappeared. We are investigating why he locked that gate because the confusion created thereafter has tarnished the image of the club.
“It was very unfortunate but I want to say sorry to the journalists, our sponsors and other important people who were inconvenienced. We are working to rectify the issue. It is our hope that it will not happen again,” added Chikengezha.