PSL set to take action against Black Leopards chairman David Thidiela after shocking rant

Black Leopards owner and chairman David Thidiela celebrate with the fans in the stands after his team won promotion to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) at Thohoyandou Stadium on May 30 2018.
Black Leopards owner and chairman David Thidiela celebrate with the fans in the stands after his team won promotion to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) at Thohoyandou Stadium on May 30 2018.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) are set to refer Black Leopards chairman David Thidiela to their prosecutor‚ Nande Becker‚ for a rant made at referee Victor Hlungwani that included apparent threats and tribal references.

Thidiela’s wild rant followed his team’s 1-0 Absa Premiership defeat against Bloemfontein Celtic as promoted Lidoda Duvha finally played their first home game of 2018-19 at Thohoyandou Stadium‚ which had been cleared to meet several PSL standards.

Thidiela‚ a member of the PSL's executive committee‚ can be heard on an audio clip of the exchange warning Hlungwani not to referee more of Leopards' matches.

PSL chief operating officer Ronnie Schloss said the league had not referred the matter to Becker yet‚ as they were going through the processes.

“We haven’t had a meeting but the normal process is that after every game we go through what went on‚ and anything that seems to be a problem is referred to the league’s prosecutor‚” Schloss said.

The league sent out a press release on Tuesday morning distancing themselves from the statements made by Thidiela and promising action after the Leopards chairman had been “afforded an opportunity to respond”.

The PSL’s statement read: “The National Soccer League (NSL‚ governing body of the PSL) has become aware of the alleged utterances which appear to have been made by Mr. David Thidiela‚ the chairman of Black Leopards Football Club‚ at Thohoyandou Stadium on 16 September 2018.

“The League distances itself from any comment or utterance such as that which has been reported.

“Black Leopards is a member of the League‚ and both the club and Mr. Thidiela are bound by the NSL Handbook. If the reported utterances are true‚ this would contravene the League Code of Ethics.

“Mr. Thidiela has been afforded an opportunity to respond to this matter and provide such information as may be relevant.

“The matter will serve before the Executive Committee and the highest decision-making body of the League‚ the Board of Governors‚ at a meeting that has been called for this Thursday‚ the 20th September 2018.”

Thidiela’s rant came after the final whistle of his team’s defeat.

In an audio doing the rounds on social media‚ Thidiela allegedly can be heard to say: “Don’t Hlungwani! Don’t! I'm the boss here‚ I’m paying you. You must know that.

“I allow a mistake to happen at the ground. A mistake can happen to anybody. But this – this is not a mistake. It's following me.

“I’m giving you the last warning. You come here at your own risk. I’m saying this before [in front of] the media.

“ ... Hlungwani‚ you are from Giyani‚ I’m from what you call it. How many penalties [turned down] there? And three weeks ago the same.

“Hlungwani‚ please we can do without you. I’m asking you‚ please‚ my brother‚ don't come. Wherever we [Leopards] are playing‚ don’t go. Go and do the other games.

“I’m going to write a letter tomorrow to the league. It will also go to Safa. I’m going to also tell [Safa president] Danny Jordaan.

“I cannot run this business. And we are not violent people. But don’t push me where [you] don’t belong.”

Various expletives followed then Thidiela could be heard shouting: “He's a Shangaan‚ Shangaans do this.”

Hlungwani had also refereed Leopards’ 2-2 league draw against Chippa United in East London on August 18.

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