Silver charged over pitch invasion: Club denies any wrong doing

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has  started disciplinary proceedings  against  Silver Strikers FC following the pitch invasion by the club’s supporters after the Standard Bank Knockout Cup final victory over Azam Tigers at Civo Stadium on August 30, 2014.

The club, however, denies the charges and has pushed the blame on police security personnel for failing to control fans after the final whistle.

In the background, the baners that were looted, Pic Alex Mwazalumo
In the background, the baners that were looted, Pic Alex Mwazalumo
Stewarts line up to control the pitch invadors, Pic Alex Mwazalumo
Stewarts line up to control the pitch invadors, Pic Alex Mwazalumo

The charges are contained in a letter dated September 8, 2014 signed by Fam chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda addressed to Silver Strikers General Secretary.

The letter, which Nyasa Times has sourced reads in part: “Fam competitions committee deliberated complaints leveled against Silver Strikers over misconduct of the club’s supporters during the Standard Bank Knockout Cup final.

“The committee considered official reports from the match commissioner, police, referee, stewards, stadium management, Standard Bank and personal observations of its members at the final and established that Silver supporters invaded the pitch after the whistle, disrupting match proceedings and causing damage to the stadium’s perimeter fence as well as Standard bank advertising banners.”

Empowered by Article 25 of the competition’s rules and regulations, the committee places the following charges on Silver: Unsporting behavior leading to disruption of normal proceedings of the final, damage to the Civo Stadium perimeter fence and vandalism of Standard Bank perimeter advertising banners.

Attached to the charge sheet are two invoices- one from Civil Service Sporting Club, valuing the damaged property at MK175,000 and another one from Standard Bank, which quotes the vandalized banners at MK772,000. In total, the damaged and vandalized property is valued at K947,395.000.

The defendants have been given 48 hours from receipt of the letter to respond to the charges leveled against them.

While acknowledging receipt of the letter, Silver Strikers general secretary Mike Tembo trashed down the accusations, shifting the whole blame on the security personnel from police for failing to control fans.

“A total of 150 police officers were deployed to provide security at the stadium and the security personnel were told during preparatory and pre-match meetings to surround the pitch towards the end of the game. They (police) ignored the advice and as a result fans invaded the pitch to see Asamoah Gyan from Ghana. It was not only Silver fans who invaded the pitch but also Azam and ganyu fans,” claimed Tembo.

The Silver GS expressed worry with the figures coming up, arguing that similar offences from clubs like Big Bullets have attracted fines not exceeding K300,000. He also recalled that Silver had lodged a similar complaint to Sulom when Bullets’ fans destroyed the wire fence at Silver Stadium during the Super League first round match between Epac and Bullets but said the complaint fell on deaf ears.

Tembo said his team, which got the charges on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 would be filing its defence before the 48-hour period but added that would just be for formality sake ‘because we know they will not listen to us.’

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