Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
CASTLE Lager Premiership chief executive Kennedy Ndebele believes the security indaba that was held yesterday will go a long way in finding lasting solutions needed to address the scourge of hooliganism that is stalking domestic football.
For the first time, key stakeholders including stadium owners, club security officers, media, Zimbabwe Republic Police, and key organisations such as National Peace and Reconciliation, Footballers Union of Zimbabwe, Premier Soccer League as well as ZIFA met in Harare yesterday for the crucial indaba.The parties discussed challenges and proffered solutions that they believe might help in curbing violence and crowd trouble in stadiums across the country.
The deliberations will be drafted into a working paper that will be presented to the league’s board of governors as well as the Disciplinary Committee for consideration and adaptation. Some of the recommendations include docking of points among a raft of measures.
Ndebele was happy that after the meeting everyone was on the same page.
“We are pleasantly surprised that we got key stakeholders to come and discuss challenges. When we made this decision to suspend the league we thought we needed to reboot and get to the source of the problems.
“The takeaway is that the stakeholders who attended gave us an insight into the challenges.
“The question was ‘why are you suspending the league?’ But that gave us enough time to listen, and discuss with the members of the media, stadium owners, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police among other stakeholders.
“We had a private meeting with the ZRP yesterday (Thursday) and made a lot of progress in terms of the management of our events, in terms of security considerations,” said Ndebele.
The football boss said having everyone adhere to the requirements is not a one-day event but a process.
“This is a start. It is a process. It may take us long, but there are a lot of gaps that have been creating these challenges that we were facing.
“We had the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe present and I am sure they also understood the concerns of the stakeholders. Also, we had the National Commission for Peace and Reconciliation coming to take part.
“They have indicated that they want to further interrogate some of the challenges and assist us in making sure the football stadia are safe for everyone including the children.
“Broadly it’s event management. In the whole process of events management, the small details that people assume are just small details to bigger considerations in terms of how to manage events.
“We also needed to understand the security side of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, as you notice this was not a finger-pointing process but it was a process that allowed people to analyse challenges and proffered solutions which we are going to put together, and then present to the board of governors.
“But there are some of the issues that we need to deal with immediately to avoid deaths in stadia, to avoid loss of revenue, in terms of people shunning our football games, also to have our sponsors and prospective sponsors have confidence in the way we organise our football,” said Ndebele.
On some of the recommendations that were suggested such as docking of points for a club that would have caused chaos during matches, instead of the usual fines, Ndebele said the board of governors has the final say.
“Decisions are made by the Disciplinary Committee, but in terms of the FIFA Disciplinary Code docking of points is permitted.
It’s not something that is new, but maybe to make the recommendations to the independent committee which is our disciplinary committee, and maybe the ZIFA Appeals if it gets to that point.
“But if the governors feel that it should be included into the standing orders/rules, we can put that if it helps us to curb hooliganism and violence,” said Ndebele.