We could have complimented Highlanders supporters rather early in the season but they deserved the praise as their behaviour had been exemplary this year. However, that all went up in smoke this past weekend when the demon of violence took hold of supporters leading to ugly scenes at Barbourfields Stadium.
Sport can be beautiful, but its beauty lies in the athletes seeking to outdo one another and spectators on the other hand also boisterously attempting to out-cheer one another. Granted, emotions do run high in sport as the bid for victory can sometimes lead to irrational behaviour among the fans. In sport, there are rules that have to be followed and as part of this mediation to ensure fair play, there is normally a referee to ensure that rules are adhered to, and also seen to be enforced to ensure fair play prevails.
It is also known that such umpires have the final say when it comes to the handling of matches. We should not be persuaded to believe that some teams are sore losers, whose supporters will only accept results that favour them and go berserk when they perceive decisions to be against them.
We need law and order to prevail and our stadia cannot be made hard hat areas, not by Highlanders supporters or any other fans for that matter.
Violence can have far reaching consequences for the offending team and its supporters since this comes with financial implications, whereby the team would have to cough up for penalties, and the loss of points, and good name in the process.
We believe that teams need to do more to educate their supporters on acceptable behaviour at these sporting events. Also, we need supporters to restrain one another instead of celebrating deviant behaviour, hence recruiting more in breaking the law. We could be slowly breeding a gang of hooligans that could haunt us for generations, judging by the age of some of the violent fans. Football authorities should come down heavily on teams whose fans misbehave while law enforcement should also bring to bear on the offenders the full wrath of the law.
We cannot be and should never be subjected to such barbaric behaviour at stadia again and if it means handing out life bans on some fans to maintain order and send a strong message that society does not condone this madness, so be it.
We do not condone violence. For the police, we believe the incident at Barbourfields exposed some glaring inadequacies that we believe the command element is hard at work on just as we expect the refereeing brigade to also reflect on such matches and decisions taken, in the aftermath of the scenes at the game pitting Highlanders against Dynamos.