THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) and its sponsors Delta Beverages have raised concerns over incidents of violence at Premiership matches during the just-ended season with the former saying unruly fan behavior was affecting their sponsorship.
PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele yesterday said Delta Beverages, who bankroll the league under the Castle Lager brand, raised concerns over violence at the Soccer Stars awards held last Friday night.
In March this year, Delta Beverage extended its sponsorship deal with the PSL by another three years, injecting $3,6 million translating to $1,2 million per season to 2016.
Delta Beverages also sponsor the Chibuku Super Cup which returned on the local football calender after years of absence.
Ndebele urged clubs to educate fans on violence saying that responsibility lay solely on the clubs and not the PSL.
“There has been a concern from the league and the sponsors (Delta Beverages) on the issue of violence. Clubs are supposed to educate fans on violence. It’s a phenomenon that we cannot argue about. It is known the world over. Clubs must educate their fans.
“Violence affects attendance (at stadia), sponsorship and security. Who would want to put money where violence is perpetrated to the extent where a fan is killed? A sponsor can withdraw sponsorship because they don’t want their brand tarnished. Look at South Africa, the (Orlando) Pirates and (Kaizer) Chiefs derby. It is watched by over 90 000 fans and that game is sold out three to four days before the match. That shows that there is a lot of excitement and the fans mix and mingle,” Ndebele said.
Incidents of violence involving the country’s big clubs Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United rocked the 2014 PSL season.
The PSL descended on the clubs with heavy fines for incidents that ranged from pitch invasion to missile throwing.
Highlanders were slapped with a $2 000 fine for missile throwing by their fans during the match in which Bosso lost 0-1 to Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium on August 9.
A Bosso fan Thembelenkosini Hloli was killed on that day as the violence spilled out of the stadium.
Highlanders were sanctioned under the PSL standing order offences and fines and they were handed another $2 000 fine for pitch invasion and missile throwing by fans during a league match against How Mine at BF on July 6.
As if that was not enough, the Bulawayo giants were also fined $3 000 after pleading guilty to violating Order 31 of PSL rules and regulations when their fans turned rowdy and threw missiles on to the pitch after their team lost 1-3 to ZPC Kariba at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds on September 28.
Champions Dynamos were slapped with a $4 000 fine for missile throwing by their fans during the match in which they were eliminated by from the Chibuku Super Cup by Black Rhinos at Gwanzura Stadium on August 17.
Caps United were fined $1 750 for failing to control their rowdy fans, who threw missiles in a match against Buffaloes at Gwanzura Stadium in April.
Green Machine player Hardlife Zvirekwi was handed a $2 500 fine after he poured urine on Buffaloes’ technical area on that day.
Ndebele said it is incumbent on clubs to have clubs seek expert training for their marshals and stewards to rein in on their supporters.