‘Replay verdict sets bad precedent’


MASERU – Matlama vice-president Senti Senti has slammed the Premier League’s decision to order a replay of their abandoned fixture against Lioli.
He said the decision had set a “dangerous” precedent for local football.
Matlama were leading 3-0, with 13 minutes of normal time remaining, when violence erupted at Pitso Ground and forced the abandonment of the high-profile match.
The Premier League failed to establish who was to blame for the violence, with the two sides trading accusations.
The league’s management committee last Thursday ordered the match replayed at a neutral venue, saying both clubs had failed to control their fans.
The lack of adequate security and the absence of proper demarcation at the stadium were also cited.
“I think the decision sets a dangerous precedent because teams can create trouble when they find themselves in a disadvantageous position during a match,” Senti told the Lesotho Times.
“We thought the Premier League would investigate the matter further, but this judgment has come too quick.
“We can disagree over things, but logic has to come into play.
“The ruling is based on the fact that it is unclear who began the violence, but who had the highest probability of causing the violence?
“It (the lack of security) doesn’t warrant people to cause violence.
“We have a letter which we wrote the police asking for assistance.”
Before the verdict was announced, Matlama’s spokesman Lesolle Phalatsi claimed his team had managed to control their fans.
“Matlama were able to control their fans,” Phalatsi told the Lesotho Times.
“Even Matlama’s players went to the crowd.
“The president went to them too and asked them to leave the field.
“The game would have been continued five minutes later if Lioli officials had done the same.
“Everyone who was there saw that Matlama were winning and Lioli took a chance.”
Lioli were, needless to say, happy with the Premier League’s verdict.
“We feel it is a fair decision,” said Moeketsi Pitso, Lioli’s communications and marketing manager.
“It is true that when a team is winning it doesn’t start trouble – this is probably the first case.
“But I agree with the Premier League that the matter will be looked at closely from now on.”
Police are still investigating the violence, which left one person with gunshot wounds and two other seriously injured.


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