ZIFA President Philip Chiyangwa says the association is happy with the efforts Highlanders has made to curb violence.
Two matches involving Highlanders have been abandoned this season following crowd trouble leading to concerns from the Government through the Ministry of Sport and Recreation.
However following a meeting between ZIFA, Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhosini Hlongwane, PSL officials all parties have pledged to assist in removing violence completely from the local football scene.
A statement from ZIFA read:
The Zimbabwe Football Association commends the Highlanders Football Club leadership for the following efforts in curbing violent disruptions at their league matches.
They have done the best that they can to minimise hooliganism, violence and pitch invasion in the short term; and completely eradicate it in the long-term future. Violence and its frequency at Highlanders matches is not unique to this period. The occurrence of hooliganism and violence at matches involving Highlanders is now lesser compared to past years, however, we are now advocating for zero hooliganism tolerance, hence the stakeholders meeting we had with Minister Makhosini Hlongwane, to try and curb acts of violence, bearing in mind the limitations that Highlanders face. Highlanders uses the following to condemn and discourage violence:
- Weekly press conferences
- Road shows
- Radio & Television campaigns;
- Social media campaigns
- Pamphlets &
- Direct engagement with their fans
In addition, Chiyangwa stated ZIFA and the Government had resolved to assist Highlanders and other clubs in the following ways:
- The government will come up with a policy that will ensure that we have adequate police details at no cost since clubs cannot hire requisite police details because of the prohibitive costs involved.
- Clubs should hire an empty stadium; hence clubs should have full control of the following: advertising, kiosk or any food outlet, vendors etc.
- Any referee who is deemed to have been bribed or does not do their job professionally will be suspended or banned forthwith
- ZIFA will help clubs to deal with any political malcontents who use clubs to push their own vendettas.
- Ensuring that all perpetrators of violence at stadia are arrested and charged.
- A policy shall be formulated to make sure that football laws and the laws of the country are not at variance.
- No alcoholic beverages or beverage containers of any kind will be allowed into the stadium
- All football fans entering match venues must be in possession of acceptable form of identification (National ID, Passport or Driver’s licence)