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Daily Nation : February 23rd 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 23, 2014 SUNDAY SCORE stadiums KPL and government embrace fresh approach including concerted use of the law to prosecute perpetrators football thugs and they will be arrested Sport 49 TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION EVANS HABIL | NATION Gor Mahia fans sca mper for safety under a cloud of tear gas during the Kenya Power Charity Cup at Nyayo Stadium on February 2. Right: A SuperSport television crew on the receiving end of crowd containment by police at Nyayo Stadium when Gor and Leopards fans caused mayhem on February 2. Extreme right: A Leopards fan runs for dear life at Nyayo Stadium after chaos erupted during this year’s Kenya Power Charity Cup. onstrating and harassing the residents. On July 21, a Gor fan was reportedly killed following a fracas involving the team supporters and hawkers at Muthurwa market, in Nairobi. Gor’s then Vice Chairman Faiz Ochieng’ confirmed the incident and called on the Government to “give support to the club fans after matches”. “It is very disappointing that this issue of fans being attacked at Muthurwa is fast becoming a big menace. I personally wrote a letter to the inspector General of Police requesting that Police provide ample security to our fans after matches,” Ochieng’ said. The area residents however accused the club supporters of causing mayhem and destroying their property. The violence unleashed by the fans has led to property destruction running into millions of shillings. Scores of fans and security officers have also been injured. In the meantime, the football league administrators and Government have seemed either unwilling or unable to arrest the situation will clubs run away from blame. Banned from using Nyayo Stadium Both Gor and Leopards were separately, temporarily, banned from using the Nyayo Stadium and MISC and slapped with a damage bill of Sh2.8m and Sh2.4m respectively by the Sports Stadia Management board. By the end of the league season last year, genuine concerns had been raised with stakeholders urging that something urgent had to be done or the gains that had been made in football over the past decade would be lost. Two of the league’s major spon- sors East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) and SuperSport also talked of “staying away” if the situation was not arrested. The season opening Kenya Power Charity Cup appeared to have set the stage for another troubling year after Leopards and Gor fans engaged in battles at Nyayo Stadium. Police had to move in to stop the violence that had repeatedly interupted play. Some fans even had the audacity to walk out of the stadium carrying seats belonging the Sports Stadia Management Board. An incensed Cabinet Sports Secretary Hassan Wario wondered how spectators could unleash violence like that and then steal property without facing the law. This scenes finally forced the Kenyan Premier League administrators into decisive action. A governing council meeting held in Naivasha early this month resolved to have individual clubs responsible for the conduct of their supporters. The gathering also approved the docking of points by the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) for any club found culpable of causing a match abandonment due to acts of hooliganism. Other resolutions included engaging higher security organs in the country with an aim of rooting out the vice, forming a special to overlook safety of public events and training stewards on safety and security. Governors also resolved that no tear gas be used inside the stadium and perpetrators of violence in stadiums be arrested and charged in a court of law. The Kenyan Premier League also organized a two-day football safety and security conference where several resolutions were passed on helping to curb hooliganism. “KPL is really committed to weeding out all these violent scenes. We will do everything possible to ensure the atmosphere in the stadium portrays what should really be the case. We need to bring in more fans to the stadium to associate with the rapid growth of the game,” KPL CEO Jack Oguda said. And the last week, the Government requested for still photos of hooligans during recent matches with a view of Yobs rule stadiums with utter impunity February 20, 2014: Unruly Gor Mahia fans go on the rampage at City Stadium, breaking one of the gates to gain forceful entry during a league match between their team and City Stars. February 2, 2014: Riotous AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia fans engage in pitched battles at Nyayo Stadium during the Kenya Power Charity Cup. Police are forced to use tear gas to disperse the lawless mob. Some are later seen brazenly walking out of the venue carrying chairs belonging to the stadium. October 19, 2013: Gor Mahia hooligans, in a shocking display of wanton violence, invade the pitch and physically assault Sony Sugar goalkeeper Wycliffe Kasaya. Reason? He dared to showboat in their presence. April 17, 2013: An out of control AFC Leopards hoodlum, Derrick Ikocheli, violently attacks the centre referee in a league tie involving Chemelil Sugar at Nyayo. February 24, 2013: Angry AFC Leopards louts go berserk, uprooting seats at Moi International Sports Centre in protest at the officiating during their KPL match against Chemelil Sugar. Sh5.2m Total in damage bills handed to AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia by Sports Stadia Management Board for destructions of Nyayo Stadium and Moi International Sports Centre facilities during matches involving the two teams last season publishing them for identification and prosecution. This followed a meeting between Wario and top football leaders on Wednesday. It is instructive that to date, nobody in Kenya has ever been charged and convicted of engaging in violence during a football match. Other recommendations reached during the meeting included immediate registration of fans by the two clubs plus initiating an anti-hooliganism awareness campaign and involvement of the top most security office in the land in offering viable solutions and discussing police behaviour in handling crowd trouble. “These measures will profile football as a game that fosters national integration and attract sponsors which will ultimately translate to improved welfare for players,” Wario said. But alarmingly, a day after this meeting, rowdy Gor fans pulled down a gate at the City Stadium to forcefully gain entry during a league match against City Stars. The fans later complained on social media they were forced towards this option after the match day tickets ran out before they could purchase. “That is not true. Actually this (vio- lence) was stage managed by a group of people who illegally benefit from the sale of tickets at the stadium. They are unhappy the club has introducing sheet cards instead to replace paper ticketing,” Gor Secretary General Chris Omondi told Sunday Nation Sport. To be fair to Leopards and Gor admin- istrators, they have appreciated the need to tame hooligans who have tarnished the name of the game and put off fans from attending matches. “It is a step in the right direction. Believe you me, nobody needs violence during the games. We need fans to come and enjoy the games, then go home satisfied despite the results no matter how painful it is. “Leopards will support and implement all this agreements to the letter,” Leopards chairman Allan Kasavuli said.
February 22nd 2014
February 24th 2014