By Eddie Chikamhi
Giants Highlanders yesterday said they will challenge the verdict by the Premier Soccer League Disciplinary Committee after they were fined $3 500 and ordered to play their next home game in an empty stadium.
Bosso, who host neighbours Bulawayo City at Barbourfields on Sunday, were penalised for the crowd trouble that occurred when they played Chicken Inn at the same venue two months ago.
But the club’s chief executive Ndumiso Gumede yesterday said they were going to take up the matter with ZIFA Appeals Committee, which means the judgment will temporarily be put aside pending further appraisal.
Gumede also said the authorities set a bad precedence when they failed to deal conclusively with a similar case when Dynamos were handed a similar sentence for the disturbances that rocked the aftermath of their league match against FC Platinum at Rufaro in May.
“I’m actually coming from the pre-match meeting and everything is in place for this match. We will be opening 15 gates and the charges have remained the same,” said Gumede.
“Our supporters should come in numbers. Police have even confirmed that they are going to send 100 personnel to provide security. So it cannot be this game because we had finalised all the necessary arrangements including advertising.
“Anyway, what’s the hurry to have this ban effected? By the way, the same sentence was given to Dynamos for the violence that erupted at Rufaro when they played FC Platinum.
“Does anyone know what happened to that case? One would expect the Dynamos one to be dispensed with first and then we talk of this one. In any case, we intend to appeal that decision.”
PSL Communications and Media Liaison officer Kudzai Bare said the verdict was binding but Highlanders had indicated they would appeal.
“They have indicated they are going to appeal but we haven’t received their papers yet. If they appeal it means the judgment will be set aside, like what happened with the Dynamos issue, and then we wait for guidance from the ZIFA,” said Bare.
Gumede, who represented the club at the hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges stating that the referee was incompetent and should have been held responsible for the chaos.
According to the judgment papers, he also accused the police of using excessive force when they arrested a fan who had invaded the pitch.
Gumede also charged that “the police were being paid for nothing as it has been noted that they do not thoroughly search the supporters at the gates.”
Highlanders are the dark horses in the championship race after reducing the gap between them and log leaders CAPS United to three points.
“We implore our supporters to desist from pitch invasions, missile throwing, derogatory songs and all forms of unruliness. Supporters should come and enjoy the game as we go into this interesting homestretch,” said Gumede.
Chicken Inn were also fined $1 500 for insulting and threatening a match official after their league match against FC Platinum at White City on July 23.
The Gamecocks have also been summoned to appear before the Disciplinary Committee on October 27 for causing a seven-minute stoppage when they played Triangle at Gibbo in protest of a penalty that was awarded the hosts.
Log leaders CAPS United were also expected to appear before the same committee yesterday for causing the delay of the kick-off of their Chibuku first round match against Tsholotsho at the National Sports Stadium last month. The Herald