NAIROBI, Kenya, July 19- AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia have been ordered to play their next Kenyan Premier League home match in an empty stadium by the league’s Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee.
The punishment arises from the troubled league match between the two arch-rivals held on May 12 at Nyayo Stadium that was halted for several minutes following violent skirmishes between their fans. Gor won 1-0.
Both clubs have also been handed a suspended fine of Sh1 million each that will be paid to the KPL upon determination that either club has failed to control its supporters as required by the rules of the league.
Trouble erupted in the match in the 73rd minute after Gor Mahia scored and both sets of fans engaged each other in a brawl and stone throwing forcing police to fire teargas canisters onto the stands. The game was stopped for several minutes.
While the home team was Leopards, IDCC observed that it was the responsibility of both teams in a fixture to manage the conduct of their fans.
“Rule 3.4(a) of the Rules of Kenyan Football makes clubs responsible for the conduct of their members and supporters, irrespective of whoever is organizing the matches in which the clubs are participating. Similarly, a club is responsible for the conduct of its members and supporters irrespective of whether it is the home team or the away team,” IDCC said in its ruling.
“AFC Leopards SC and Gor Mahia FC failed to control their supporters, who as a result caused the stoppage of the match for five minutes,” the ruling further said.
The disciplinary body said deterrent measures were required to help stamp out violence in the league.
“We emphasize, as we have stated in previous decisions that all clubs participating in tournaments organized by the KPL must understand that the KPL does not, and will not, condone any acts of hooliganism or other misconduct.
“In this respect, all clubs must observe the KPL’s Zero Tolerance Policy on Abandoned Matches and Assaults, which states that ‘A Club is responsible for the conduct of its officials, players and fans and will be held responsible for any assault on any person immediately before, during or after a match,’” IDCC said.
Leopards next home match is on July 1 against Thika United. Gor will next play at home on June 26, also against Thika United.
IDCC at the same time declined to punish AFC Leopards for crowd trouble attributed to their fans in their Top Eight match against Chemelil Sugar on April 17.
The committee observed that Leopards had taken internal measures to help curb crowd violence. IDCC however ordered Leopards to pay Sh113,700 to Avenue Health Care for damages caused to their vehicle by the club’s fans during the fateful match.