HIGHLANDERS have been ordered to play their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against Bulawayo City on Sunday in an empty stadium following their fans’ violent behaviour when they played Chicken Inn at Barbourfields in August. BY FORTUNE MBELE
Bosso said they will appeal the ruling, which means they may be able to play in front of their fans this weekend.
In addition to the ban, the Bulawayo giants were fined $3 500 for the same offence, but they will pay $2 000 after $1 500 was suspended on condition that the offence is not repeated this season.
Highlanders’ fans invaded the pitch and fought running battles with the police after the referee blew the final whistle in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) disciplinary committee judgment released yesterday read in part: “In the circumstances, Highlanders is ordered to pay a fine of $3 500, $1 500 of which is suspended for the rest of the season on condition that the club is not convicted of a similar offence. The effective fine of $2 000 together with the costs of the hearing to be paid by November 30, 2016. Highlanders to further play their next PSL officially-sanctioned home ground game in an empty stadium.”
In their defence, Highlanders argued at the hearing that the police were to blame, as they did not carry out thorough searches as fans entered the stadium.
Bosso, who were represented by chief executive officer, Ndumiso Gumede, also suggested that some of the violence was caused by economic factors that the club had no control over.
The Bulawayo giants had argued referee Nkosikhona Moyo was responsible for the mayhem at BF on August 14, as he was incompetent and the police had used excessive force in arresting a fan, who had invaded the pitch.
Yesterday morning, Gumede said they would appeal against the judgment.
“We have some technical challenges at the office, but I got wind of the ruling. Chances are we are going to appeal.
We don’t understand how they have arrived at that decision when we came up with that kind of defence,” he said.
Highlanders pleaded guilty to contravening sections of Order 31 of the PSL Rules and Regulations, which touched on the unruly behaviour of their fans, pitch invasion, missile-throwing and acts of violence.
In June, Dynamos were also ordered to play in an empty stadium following violence at their match against FC Platinum, but the Harare giants appealed against the judgment. Chicken Inn were also fined $1 500 for the unruly behaviour of their officials in the home game against FC Platinum at White City Stadium on July 23, $500 of which was suspended.
The PSL reigning champions have been summoned to appear before the disciplinary committee again on October 27 to face charges of causing a seven-minute stoppage while protesting the awarding of a penalty in their match against Triangle at Gibbo Stadium on September 25.
Caps United were expected to appear before the disciplinary committee yesterday over delaying the start of their Chibuku Super Cup first round match against Tsholotsho at the National Sports Stadium on September 17.
Ngezi Platinum will have to answer to charges of disrupting the normal flow of proceedings in their match against Highlanders, where they caused a five-minute stoppage protesting the awarding of a penalty to their opponents at Barbourfields on September 25.