Irvin Khoza tells Orlando Pirates pitch invaders: You are hooligans
Posted: 13 February 2017 Time: 12:26
“When you participate in violence in sport, you are a hooligan,” Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza tells a section of his club’s fans who were at Loftus Stadium.
Khoza addressed the serious matter of a pitch invasion during Mamelodi Sundowns’ 6-0 dismantling of Pirates on Saturday that resulted in a temporary suspension of the match.
Before that SuperSport TV’s television cables had already been vandalised by angry Bucs fans, temporarily cutting the broadcaster’s feed of the match.
But after Percy Tau scored the sixth goal in the 82nd minute, Pirates fans ran onto the Loftus pitch and clashed with Sundowns supporters in their section, which sparked a mass brawl.
KickOff.com revealed on Sunday that 13 of those people involved in the appalling clash had to be admitted to hospital for their injuries. Khoza has now responded with a message directed at the perpetrators.
“Violence has no place in our football. No matter how strong we feel, no matter how aggrieved we are, when we engage in violence it defeats the legitimacy of our feelings and grievances,” he said.
“Violence is not an answer. Violence diminishes your reasons no matter how good they are. Now we are talking about violence and not the reasons why you [Pirates fans at Loftus Stadium] stood up in your seat.
“Whether it be out of frustration, resignation, a legitimate protest, once it becomes violent, all the reasons are diminished even if they are good or legitimate.
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“Violence in sport, especially football, has got a name around the world. It is called hooliganism. When you participate in violence in sport, you are a hooligan.
“Today could not be business as usual after Saturday’s horrific scenes of violence at a game where two of South Africa’s teams that ought to have shined each other’s stars on the other in their first encounter since Mamelodi Sundowns earned their African Champions League star, [but it was] reduced to scenes that had no place in the beautiful game.
“We then have a duty and obligation to answer key questions about this anomaly. I call it an anomaly because it ought not to have happened. There is no place for violence in our society. There is no time that it is justified. When it happens, we should pause, determine its cause, and root it out without fear or favour.”
Khoza promised to work with authorities to bring the culprits at Loftus to book, before concluding with another message to stop the violence in our society.
“I would like to conclude by reiterating our pledge, a pledge that we took on 6 December 2001, at a time in our society when violence against women and children forced us to take stock.
“We at Orlando Pirates recognise that women are the base and future of our society, that violence against women and children is like waging a war on ourself as a nation.
“We therefore pledge to be vocal and speak out against violence targeted at women and children, to be exemplary through our deeds and serve as role models.
“Violence is now shaping and obsessing our society. If we do not stop it, it will stop us and our children will have a bleak future.”