By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Dynamos are not guaranteed maximum points from their aborted blockbuster encounter against Highlanders when the disciplinary committee deliberates on the case next week.
The match was called off after an hour’s standoff following crowd trouble after fans rejected the Harare giants’ equaliser in the 40th minute scored by Cameroonian striker Christian Epoupa from what appeared to be an offside position.
A law expert said it would be unfair to the players if they were to lose points when they actually wanted to continue with play.
“Look, it was not Highlanders who caused the abandonment of the match. Their players wanted to play, their officials tried all they could to calm the fans to show that they wanted the match to continue, but it did not,” said the law expert.
He said even the match commissioner is on record as saying the match was called off due to crowd trouble, not that the home side had refused to play.
“Highlanders are likely to be punished in monetary terms unless we see things differently because as a football institution they never caused the abandonment of that match, but it was their fans. It’s the fans who need to be punished not the players on the field of play, also they (Bosso) can bring in the force majeure factor where they argue and say even if the match resumed after an hour of stoppage, poor light would have forced the referee to call off the match, which is beyond their control, so to me really Dynamos must not count on the free points as yet,” said the lawyer.
In the event of a replay or continuation of the match from the 40th minute, there could be the issue of travel and accommodation costs for Dynamos which need to be looked at as they had nothing to do with the disturbances at Barbourfields Stadium.
“The way I see it, in the likely event that the disciplinary committee orders a replay, Dynamos might refuse to come to Bulawayo citing costs, but that is another issue altogether. Maybe Highlanders might undertake to foot that bill, but from a legal argument, giving three points to Dynamos will also be unfair to the Highlanders players who were clearly eager to play,” said the expert.
The lawyer said Highlanders’ fans clearly accepted that they are the ones who caused the abandonment of the match as evidenced by their rushed decision to fundraise in anticipation of a huge fine from the PSL.
The hearing will be held next Tuesday and the schedule of offences includes pitch invasion, missile throwing and violent conduct by the fans.
In summons issued on Monday, Highlanders are being charged in terms of Order 31; Acts of misconduct/ offences, which says it’s an act of misconduct when supporters misbehave in any manner whatsoever, inside or outside a ground before, during or after a match, no matter on which ground the match is played. The Chronicle