ZIFA suspends league over crowd trouble

The Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League (PSL) has, with immediate effect, suspended the 2021/22 league programme following acts of violence and hooliganism that have characterised recent matches.

The suspension comes after ugly scenes in the Highlanders and Dynamos league match at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday, which led to the game being abandoned when the Bulawayo giants were leading 1-0.

“The PSL strongly condemns such acts as they can only serve to tarnish the beautiful game of football. We are currently engaging all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to these challenges. We have scheduled a meeting with security officials including the Zimbabwe Republic Police, club security officers and marshals, as well as stadium owners, on Friday May 20, 2022.”

The league has requested the police, Dynamos, and Highlanders to submit reports of what transpired on Sunday before taking disciplinary action.

On Sunday, Highlanders fans invaded the pitch to celebrate Washington Navaya’s goal in a match that was punctuated by two stoppages.

Dynamos fans at the Mpilo end then invaded the pitch, vandalised the perimetre fence and the goalpost, forcing Masvingo referee Jimmy Makwanda to call the match off.

The second assistant referee Melody Ncube was rescued by the police while there was a scuffle between the Dynamos and Highlanders players in the second half

There was a 13-minute stoppage as Tandi was being attended to, with fans from either side engaged in running battles with the police.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) yesterday read the riot act following the Sunday match.

“ZIFA condemns acts of hooliganism that disrupted the flow of, and led to the abandonment of the Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders and Dynamos on May 15, 2022,” ZIFAActing Chief Executive, Xolisani Gwesela, said.

About three weeks ago, another game, pitting FC Platinum against Highlanders at Mandava, was abandoned due to crowd trouble, with fans running riot after the hosts were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute.

Police had to throw teargas cannisters to disperse the crowd and quell the violence, which spilt into the city centre in Zvishavane, leading to the arrest of 15 people.

The score line was 1-1 at Mandava while Highlanders were leading 1-0 on Sunday at BF when the match was called off. –Supersport

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