PSL football is big business, and the soccer fans, as the mainstay of the industry are its customers. As we all know, in business the customer is always right, and that the customers rights must be protected and taken care of.
Paramount to that is the safety of the customer. The question we are asking as This Is Football Africa is, are PSL football fans safe when attending games at stadiums around the country? We spoke to prominent fans around the country to find out
AmaZulu FC supporter Bheki Nyathi shares these insights with us:
“In terms of the big games, I think the safety is not up to par, I would say maybe we are 70 – 80 % safe.”
” One of the first issues being tickets. You will find people selling tickets outside stadiums, a lot of times these are duplicated fake tickets, sometimes I may buy an original ticket, but then you get those who have duplicate tickets and perhaps up to 10 per original. This alone leads to crowd control problems, and can even cause a stampede, especially when original tickets are mostly fully sold out. Especially as you have fans who have bought those, mostly without realising it, duplicate tickets, now also want to get in. So now you have the fans with the real tickets trying to get in, plus the fans with the fake tickets also trying to get in, and both sets of fans are angry because they paid their hard money to buy those tickets. Now it gets unsafe”.
Bheki Nyathi further states that stands need to be separated, for both “Home” and “Away” fans, whilst more tickets should be made available for home teams fans, as it’s done in Europe.
Nyathi also believes that clubs don’t hire enough security personnel to cater for the matchday safety of all supporters, whilst also adding that there are aspects which have improved, such as glass bottles no longer being allowed into stadiums. These were dangerous, as sometimes irate fans would hurl bottles and objects onto the players or the pitch itself.
These two main issues, namely ticketing and seating issues, which if managed correctly by clubs, will go a long way in helping to guarantee the safety of fans, according to Nyathi.
The staunch AmaZulu FC supporter also highlighted the need for host teams to employ security personnel to safeguard vehicles for supporters, which happens to be one of the main concerns, stating that fans find it difficult to concentrate and to enjoy matches, while worrying about their cars at the same time. The so called ‘car guards’ who wait around the cars cannot be fully trusted. Security employed by clubs, should take responsibility for the safety of the cars. This would make life easier for stadium goers.
According to diehard Pirates supporter Dejan Miladinovic, he personally hasn’t experienced anything bad himself at the stadiums. However, Dejan believes that supporters should also be disciplined themselves at games. Fans must know where to go and how to go about doing things for their own safety, especially when parking around the stadium in isolated areas.