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Wed Apr 23 19:30:00 SAST 2014

PSL says it will now act against hooligans

Mazola Molefe | 04 September, 2012 06:130 Comments
Maritzburg United's Morne David heads the ball away from Clayton Daniels of Mamelodi Sundowns during the sides' PSL match at Lucas Moripe stadium on Sunday

THE Premier Soccer League has lost patience with football hooligans.

Yesterday, the league threatened to crack down on supporters who disrupt matches when they are unhappy with their team's performance.

Individuals would be identified and could be handed lengthy bans from stadiums, the PSL said.

The threat comes in the wake of Sunday's disturbance by Mamelodi Sundowns fans at Lucas Moripe stadium and similar acts by Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs supporters.

"We have decided to take tough measures to stop this," said Connie Motshumi, head of communications at the PSL.

She said the measures being considered were individual bans and identifying (by naming and showing photographs) guilty fans.

On Sunday, Sundowns fans tried to force their way onto the pitch and urged the club bosses to fire coach Johan Neeskens as Sundowns suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Maritzburg United.

The few security personnel who were present at the ground meant that police had to be called in as back-up. Neeskens was escorted out of the venue under guard.

The PSL's new legal affairs head, Ntsietso Mofokeng, has come under fire for being less effective than her predecessor, Zola Majavu.

The mob mentality in Atteridgeville on Sunday follows two similar incidents over the past two weeks.

Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will face a PSL disciplinary hearing on Friday.

Their fans have been accused of throwing objects, including firecrackers, onto the pitch during recent matches.

This happened when Amakhosi were beaten 4-1 by Sundowns in the MTN8 and when Pirates were knocked out of the same competition in the semifinals by Supersport United late last month.

Responding to chants that he should pack his bags, Sundowns coach Neeskens said he understood the supporters' frustration.

"Like everybody I am frustrated and disappointed that we lost," he said. "But not only that, it's the way we played. It's normal for the fans to be this frustrated.

"I am too, so are the people at the club and the players. But we all have to come out of this," he said.

Sundowns fans are notorious for resorting to violence, hoping their actions will lead to the coach being sacked by club president Patrice Motsepe. Often the chairman has heeded their appeals.

In 2009 Frenchman Henri Michel left the same venue in a police van when an angry mob demanded his resignation.

Antonio Lopez Habas, now at Bidvest Wits, quit as Sundowns coach in similar fashion in January 2011.

At the weekend, the Sundowns supporters chanted former Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane's name, suggesting that he should be next in charge.

"If the fans think there should be another coach, then that is up to the board. I will continue to fight, I want to come out of this," said Neeskens.

"But I can't do it alone, I need all the support and my players need to take responsibility."

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PSL says it will now act against hooligans

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