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Pirates turn to arbitration

By Mark Gleeson | 2012-11-15 07:32:02.0

ORLANDO Pirates are taking to arbitration their bid to overturn a suspended R250,000 fine for supporter violence at last year's Telkom Knockout final, the Premier Soccer League confirmed.

Pirates lost their appeal at the start of the month but want the case now to be heard by an independent arbitrator.

The case is now almost a year old but still without any resolution as the date for the arbitration and identity of the arbitrator are still to be fixed.

The club is questioning whether it should he held directly responsible for the actions of its fans - particularly at matches at which it is not in control of the security operation, as was the case in the final against Wits last December.

Currently PSL rules state that clubs are liable to be punished if their fans misbehave - both in and outside the stadium, and irrespective of the security situation.

Pirates' appeal has held up a further three cases of spectator violence against the club, who face heavy fines if they do not win arbitration . and maybe even more drastic sanctions.

The club is seeking to change a long-standing policy to charge clubs for their supporters' misbehaviour.

If Pirates win, it will reduce heavy financial penalties that await them and benefit other teams with similarly large support.

But it then brings into question who takes responsibility for stadium security and who is liable should things go wrong.

In recent years PSL clubs have worked hard on stadium security because of the threat of Draconian fines should supporters throw objects onto, or invade the pitch. It has seen a drastic reduction in acts of random violence. There have been only isolated incidents in recent years, most involving Pirates fans.

The PSL's decision to bring police charges against individuals involved in the assault on Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens and the damage of property at Dobsonville in September is also a new strategy. If it proves successful, it might tempt the PSL to change its rules and transfer the responsibility on the individual who perpetrates the violence.