THE ugly incidents that enveloped Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday have resulted in Highlanders being formally charged by the Premier Soccer League for breaching its rules and regulations.
Bosso have been charged with misconduct for their fans’ breach of the peace and causing abandonment of their Castle Lager Premiership tie against Dynamos.
After Dynamos’ controversial equalising goal from an offside position, the ugly side of the beautiful game was put on display as Bosso fans suddenly turned rowdy and prevented the match from proceeding.
Although the fans had legitimate complaints against the offending match official, linesman Thomas Kusosa, for a wrong call, their misgivings towards him were eroded by the violent solution they resorted to.
Kusosa clearly failed to interpret the offside, but the fans’ reaction was highly irrational, uncalled for and unacceptable.
They should have allowed the game to continue and left the club to register an official complaint administratively with the football authorities.
While we praise and encourage the traditional rivalry between Highlanders and Dynamos, it ought to embrace civility and common decency, and not through riotous methods as Bosso fans did on Sunday.
That hooliganism is unconscionable and must never be tolerated at our stadia as it only serves to attach a bad name to our game and keep peace loving fans away.
The success of their unruly behaviour not only served to mask growing mediocrity in match officiating, but is certain to earn Bosso a hefty fine and loss of points from a game they could have won.
It’s no secret that Bosso are broke and choking in serious debt of over half a million dollars and their sponsorship was almost halved by principal sponsor BancABC, so every dollar counts and the club can’t afford to be forking out fines from the little they get from gate takings due to misdemeanours by some unruly elements.
UBosso fans must be concerned about the financial welfare of the club and not behave like mercenaries out to cripple the country’s oldest club.
It’s time the good fans take a stand to make a difference, despite the PSL placing the responsibility on the home team to ensure safety. There is only so much a team can do to monitor thousands of fans.
The common theme in many violent incidents is intoxication. Maybe home teams must open the gates early and provide alternative entertainment to ensure that fans don’t resort to excessive drinking before matches in the car parks.
Unlike in the past when one could watch age group teams in action from as early as 10am, now gates open late, but fans gather at drinking spots early to drink because there is no reason for them to enter the stadium early.
As a result, when matches start, most fans are intoxicated and any incident can torch violence as happened on Sunday. Maybe the police should play a greater role by enforcing the public drinking law to ensure there is no drinking in car parks outside the stadium and outside bottle stores.
The sad thing is that violence always deflects attention from the genuine issues, as happened on Sunday. Instead of deliberating on inept officiating, all focus is now on some anti-social behaviour.
After many poor decisions that have gone against Bosso from Kusosa, we also believe it’s high time we get inquiries into match officials’ ability to handle PSL matches. Kusosa has proved over time that he is inept at officiating at this level of our game.
Right now we have been informed that Bosso have been summoned to answer charges of breaching PSL rules, but nothing has been said about Kusosa’s thickening incompetence.
As much as clubs are punished for violence caused by their fans, match officials should also face the consequences of their error-strewn handling of games.