HARARE – This week, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) dithered on a good chance to send a stern message to hooligans when they reserved judgment on the hearing into the abandoned Highlanders and Dynamos match.
Bosso were summoned by the PSL Disciplinary Committee last Tuesday following the chaos at Barbourfields Stadium on May 14 when their fans forced the match to be called off.
Unruly Highlanders fans were protesting against a controversial Dynamos equaliser scored by Christian Ntouba in the 42nd minute.
With the game live on television, the fans threw missiles onto the pitch as they wanted assistant referee Thomas Kusosa to be removed.
When it appeared order was about to prevail, the same fans then stormed the pitch as they intensified their protests.
It was a bad advertisement of local football which played out in front of the entire continent since SuperSport was broadcasting the clash live to the rest of the continent.
This was not the first time violence has erupted at Barbourfields with previous incidents resulting in lives lost.
This is the reason why the PSL Disciplinary Committee should have been decisive when dealing with the matter.
After conducting the hearing, judgment should have been made readily available in order to send the correct message to all stakeholders that the league is indeed doing the best to fight hooliganism.
At the moment, it seems the PSL is treating this issue like child’s play when it has the potential to drive away sponsors.
At the moment, Delta Beverages and SuperSport are the major sponsors that are willing to stand with the league through thick and thin.
But how long will they remain committed to the local game if this problem is not addressed?
The PSL should try to emulate other leagues around the world that stamp their authority without fear or favour when dealing with similar cases.
For example, in the Premier League in England, once a hearing is conducted in a case of violent conduct against a player or crowd trouble by fans, it does not take long for the judgment to be released.
This ensures perpetrators are brought to book immediately without delay.
Further delay by the PSL to release the verdict also gives rise to conspiracy theories that some high offices are trying to influence the decision.
When the judgment finally arrives, the perception of the fans will be deeply conflicted with the wild conspiracy theory flying around on social media.