Huge blow for Bucs

26 February 2013 - 02:35 By MARK GLEESON
Orlando Pirates supporters
Orlando Pirates supporters
Image: ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES

Orlando Pirates have lost their latest legal challenge to stall a series of backed-up cases of supporter violence and should now face a series of prosecutions that have been on hold for months.

An arbitrator late last week heard arguments in a long-running case from the 2011 Telkom Knockout final and rejected Pirates bid, officials confirmed.

The champions were seeking to overturn a suspended R250000 fine for supporter violence in the 14-month-old case.

They had appealed against the initial sentence and lost. Their bid at arbitration has also failed.

Pirates argued that they should not be held directly responsible for the actions of their fans - particularly at matches for which they did not control security , as was the case in the final against Wits in December 2011.

This appeal has stalled other cases of spectator violence against Bucs , who now face heavy fines. It has also stalled the resolution of a case against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The largest-ever fine handed out in South African football has still to be paid - more than two years after it was imposed.

Sundowns were fined a record R500000 for violence by their fans in January 2011, for incidents which caused the departure of their then coach, Miguel Lopez, but they have still to pay the money or set up the fund they were told to put in place.

The club has succeeded in tying up the process in a legal quagmire and then benefited further from the legal impasse that has followed Pirates' bid to get out of several prosecutions for violence by their supporters.

Sundowns had half the record amount suspended and were ordered to use the other R250000 to set up an educational programme.

They were given six months to do so and were also told to manage the scheme. Failure to do so would see the other R250000 fine come into effect.

Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe was also ordered to say sorry at a press conference, but none of this has happened.

The club appealed against the original decision but that process was consistently delayed by a series of postponements that could have been interpreted as delaying tactics.

Sundowns were angered by what they claimed was a blatantly unfair and excessive fine, especially when compared with the sums that rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates were being slapped with for similar incidents.

Their appeal was suddenly dropped when it was revealed that they were now negotiating with the league over the size of the fine in an unprecedented extra-judicial move.

But these discussions were put on hold when Pirates launched their challenge of the rules.

All judicial prosecutions at the PSL have been on hold for months but Pirates have now lost, opening the way for many matters to be settled . and for Sundowns to pay up.

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