AFC Leopards Fans Banned from Stadia

The rain keeps beating Kenyan Premier League side AFC Leopards wherever they turn.  After seeing them emerge worst in the aborted ‘Mashemeji Derby’ which was awarded to bitter rivals Gor Mahia, the club will now have to play their next two home matches in an empty stadium.

The decision was slapped to Ingwe by the Kenyan Premier League’s Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) who found the club’s fans guilty of disrupting the June 27 league match against Thika United at the Thika Municipal Stadium.

The match was temporarily stopped for seven minutes after Ingwe fans started throwing foreign objects into the pitch. The match however resumed with Thika winning 1-0, Ray Omondi having scored the goal in the 36th minute. The next two home matches could be against Chemelil, August 30 at the Kasarani Stadium, and versus Western Stima on September 13.

The decision by IDCC comes hot on the heels of the decision to award Gor Mahia the full points and a 2-0 result after Ingwe fans caused their ‘Mashemeji Derby’ clash this past Sunday to be stopped.

 

The IDCC Ruling 

Complaint by Thika United against AFC Leopards concerning KPL match No. 123

Case No. IDCC/2015/4

IDCC JURISDICTION

1. The Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) is the tribunal for resolving disputes in the game of football managed under the auspices of the Kenyan Premier League Limited (KPL).

2. IDCC is guided by Article 1.1 of the Rules of Kenyan Football Rules, which states: “The Kenyan Football Federation consists of Branches and Clubs approved by the Executive Committee. All Branches and clubs must apply and adhere to the Laws of the Game and rules approved by the KFF and international football authorities such as CECAFA, CAF and FIFA.”

[Any reference to KFF should be read to mean FKL until such time as FKL comes up with new rules]

3. Consequently, the rules of law applied in the deliberations of IDCC consist of the Laws of the Game as approved by the Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA), the Rules of Kenyan Football the policy decisions made by the Kenyan Premier League Ltd (KPL), the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), other FIFA rules and regulations, the decisions of the FIFA judicial bodies, the decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), case law from IDCC and other jurisdictions, the Laws of Kenya, the rules of natural justice and other documentation insofar as such documentation adds relevant value to the particular circumstances of a given case.

4. Where there is a discrepancy or conflict in any of the above, the FIFA Disciplinary Code, other FIFA rules and regulations and decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport have precedence.

FACTS

1. On the 24th of July 2015, the Kenyan Premier League charged AFC Leopards SC with the offence of failing to control its supporters during the KPL match between Thika United FC and AFC Leopards SC played at the Thika Municipal Stadium on Saturday the 27th of June 2015, thereby causing stoppage of the match in the 36th minute and 82nd minute, contrary to Rule 3.4 (a) of the Rules of Kenyan Football 1998.

2. The IDCC held a hearing on the matter on the 31st of July 2015. While Thika United FC was represented at this hearing, AFC Leopards SC was not.

3. Despite the absence of representation from AFC Leopards SC, the IDCC decided to proceed with the hearing for two reasons:

(a) AFC Leopards SC had been given sufficient notice of the hearing. The hearing was scheduled to commence at 10.30 am, but only begun at 12 noon, when it was clear that AFC Leopards SC would not be sending a representative.

(b) The Constitution of the Kenyan Premier League (article 36(e)(vii) empowers the IDCC to “Hear and determine a matter in a party’s absence if the individual or entity fails to attend.”

4. Mr. George Maina, who represented Thika United FC, submitted that some thirty minutes to the end of the match, the fans of AFC Leopards SC disrupted the match by throwing stones at the players and officials of Thika United FC who were on the bench. He submitted further that although police officers tried to calm down the situation, they did not succeed; the match officials then decided to stop the match. At this point, the police officers ejected all fans from the stadium, so that the match could continue. According to Mr. Maina, while being ejected from the stadium, the fans of AFC Leopards SC stoned vehicles, offices and broke down a gate to the field of play. In his view, the police did their job well, as a result of which the match resumed and ended well. He further submitted that the fans of AFC Leopards SC stole a camera belonging to a Thika United FC official, and a jersey from another official of the same team. He concluded his submissions by asking the IDCC to order AFC Leopards SC to meet the costs of repairing the stadium, and pay for the lost camera and ten broken chairs.

5. In his report, the Match Referee observes that there were two stoppages during the match, both caused by the fans of AFC Leopards SC, who invaded the field of play. According to this report, the first stoppage occurred in the 40th minute, and lasted for seven minutes. On this occasion, the fans of AFC Leopards SC had claimed that a Thika United FC player had scored a goal from an offside position. The second stoppage lasted twelve minutes.

6. The Match Commissioner corroborates these observations of the Match Referee. In his report, the Match Commissioner observes that when the fans of AFC Leopards SC invaded the field of play for the second time in the 77th minute, they threw stones at the match officials and the fans of the opposing team, their aim being to cause the match to be abandoned. In his view, the security personnel were effective in controlling the unruly fans of AFC Leopards SC.

7. The Committee also watched a video footage of the match in question, which corroborates the foregoing observations of the Match Referee and the Match Commissioner.

ANALYSIS

1. The foregoing facts raise one issue, namely whether AFC Leopards SC failed to control its fans and/or supporters, who as a result caused stoppage of the match on two occasions.

2. From the evidence, we are satisfied that the fans and/or supporters of AFC Leopards SC invaded the field of play on two occasions, assaulted players and officials of Thika United FC, and damaged property belonging to the stadium and Thika United FC.

3. As we have stated on numerous occasions, all clubs participating in tournaments organized by the KPL, must understand that the KPL does not condone any acts of hooliganism. 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.”

4. We have previously cautioned AFC Leopards SC that any further crowd trouble involving its supporters and/or fans would attract stiffer penalties from this Committee. However, AFC Leopards SC does not appear to be taking any heed of this caution. We are concerned that the misconduct of the fans and/or supporters of AFC Leopards SC has not only occasioned unacceptable violence before, during and after KPL tournaments, but also led to stoppages and/or abandonments of matches. Such action continues to grossly undermine the reputation and growth of the KPL, and cannot be tolerated any more.

DECISION

In these circumstances, we hold that:

1. AFC Leopards SC failed to control its fans and/or supporters before, during, and after KPL Match No. 123, who as a result invaded the field of play on two occasions, assaulted players and officials of Thika United FC, and damaged property belonging to the stadium and Thika United FC.

2. Pursuant to Rule 7.3(c)(vii) of the Rules of Kenyan Football, AFC Leopards SC shall play its next two (2) home matches in the 2015 KPL League in empty stadia.

3. AFC Leopards SC shall compensate Thika United FC for any property damage it suffered as a result of the unruly behavior of the fans of AFC Leopards SC during KPL Match no. 123. We direct Thika United FC to provide AFC Leopards SC with proof of the said damage within two (2) weeks from the date of this ruling for purposes of verification. In the event that the clubs disagree on the said expenses, either club shall refer back the matter to this Committee for resolution.

Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee

Chairman

Prof. Migai Akech

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