THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has condemned violence in local football after skirmishes between rival fans claimed the life of a supporter after the Highlanders-Dynamos match at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo last Saturday.
Six fans were on Tuesday arrested in connection with the death of a Highlanders fan, Thembelenkosini Hloli, outside the stadium.
Circumstances of his death have, however, been marked by conflicting reports.
In a statement, PSL chairman Twine Phiri castigated acts of violence saying the league would come hard on any club whose supporters perpetrated violence during their matches.
“The Premier Soccer League is deeply disturbed by violence that occurred during and after the football match involving Highlanders Football Club and Dynamos Football Club played at Barbourfields Stadium, Bulawayo, on Saturday August 9 2014. We condemn acts of violence and malicious damage to property,” Phiri said.
“It is sad and painful that a life was lost and property was damaged after a football match.
“The loss of life in a family sport like football brings fear, anguish, sorrow and pain, not only to members of the family of the deceased, but to the whole society. Life is a precious gift from God.
“The Premier Soccer League is extremely concerned that one fixture out of more than 250 fixtures becomes a war zone.
“The shattering of glass and spilling of blood must never be part of football.”
Phiri pleaded with the football stakeholders and the Bulawayo community to make Barbourfields a friendly football environment and stated that the PSL would come hard on offenders.
“While the league will take stern disciplinary measures against clubs breaching the football statutes, rules and regulations, the acts of violence at Barbourfields Stadium now require a concerted effort from the community of Bulawayo,” he said.
“We appeal to community leaders, religious leaders, councillors, Members of Parliament, national leaders and the general members of the public to join hands and fight hooliganism and violence at football matches.
“It is the duty of all stakeholders to discourage our youth from violence.”
Phiri also suggested programmes that discourage hooliganism with law enforcement agents involved before extending condolences to the Hloli family.
“The League would like to extend its condolences to the Hloli family on the passing-away of their beloved son. May his soul rest in peace,” Phiri said.