Stop soccer violence -Simataa

ABANDONMENT of league games due to crowd violence is unacceptable and FAZ should take punitive measures against erring clubs, says veteran soccer administrator Simaata Simataa.
Simataa said it will not do any good to FAZ if the country’s soccer governing body would only end up at issuing ineffective threats to clubs.
Commenting on the abandoned week 19 game between Zesco United and Mufulira Wanderers, Simataa said FAZ could do better than waiting until the situation deteriorated.
He said threatening clubs with sanctions would not solve the problems in the league as there were a lot of things that needed to be put in place to avoid such eventualities.
“It is very disappointing that games should be abandoned in such a way because that goes against the spirit of the game of football.
“However, the problem is lack of continuous education on the part of the fans because FAZ has failed to engage the clubs and sensitizing them on the importance of maintaining peace at stadiums and this is where the problem is,” Simataa said.
He explained that there was need for FAZ to compel clubs in the premier league to install Public Address (PA) systems that could be used to address the fans at the stadia and the installation of video cameras recording evidence on what takes place during the match.
“First of all, instead of embarking on an ambitious but expensive club licensing programme, FAZ should first ensure that all clubs in the premier league have a PA system where fans can be addressed to calm them down in an event that they become unruly,” he said.
He observed that if all clubs had video evidence of their matches, it would be easy for perpetrators of violence to be identified and disciplined accordingly.
He observed that there was also need to train more competent referees to handle matches, unlike the prevailing situation.
He said although there were good referees in the country, there were still some officials who could not handle matches properly and that continuous training of referees was necessary to reduce incidences of violence during matches.
Meanwhile, Simataa has called upon FAZ to expedite the process of concluding disciplinary cases as they had the potential to distort the league.
“FAZ should also quickly settle these disciplinary cases because waiting until the league is coming to an end brings about distortions.
“Adjudicating in the cases of discipline is straight forward because as it is now, you only need a report from the referee and the match commissioner. So, the disciplinary committee should make sure these cases are attended to promptly,” he said.
The Zesco-Wanderers match on Saturday flared into violence when Zesco took the lead in the 31st minute through Winston Kalengo who fired into the bottom corner from a Cletus Chama pass, but the goal did not sink well with the home crowd who claimed that the goal should have been ruled off-side. They started throwing missiles on the pitch.