Extreme Sports Ltd, SportPesa, Kenya Premier League and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government today instigated a consortium to curb rising cases of hooliganism and fans misconduct at football matches.
The football sponsors and regulator drew a security response to be implemented in all upcoming matches. Lucrative football sport has been crippled by fan misconduct & vandalism in the recent past.
Speaking at the first consortium sitting, SportPesa CEO Mr. Ronald Karauri stated sponsor interest to grow the game despite the tainted image and unbecoming behavior from fans.
“As sponsors, we are proud to be part of this process that is aimed at restoring the lost glory of football. Football is a great sport that has revolutionized the lives of many by creating employment opportunities which the youth have benefited from.
We will not only issue cheques and take a back seat but ensure that football is run professionally in order to achieve our 2022 dream. It is because of this that we are involved in this very significant event that will help curb these vices,” he said.
Also at the event was the Chief executive officer of the Kenyan Premier League, Jack Oguda who spoke on how hooliganism is ailing the sport.
“KPL began its operations in 2003 and there were not many fans in our stadiums. This changed come 2007 when we received our first sponsorship which saw an increase of fans and with that came the issue of security which has been one of our biggest challenges to date,” he said.
“It is rather unfortunate that a sport that has been developed over the years can be tainted by hooliganism and irresponsible behavior from fans.
We are delighted to be part of this workshop that will help us come up with a way forward and a road map that will benefit our sponsors, partners and the league at large thereby restoring the glory of Kenyan football.”
As a way of reducing cases of hooliganism, sensitization of the youth and fans at large on the negative side of the vice is of great essence. Issues of drug abuse and alcoholism need to be addressed as some of the things that contribute to unruly behavior during matches.
Football teams were also urged to take it upon themselves to engage their fans on the importance of maintaining order during games as well as encourage them to report cases of hooliganism and the perpetrators to the relevant people.
Crowd management and use of vetted stewards who hold certificates of good conduct will also be employed to maintain peace during matches.
Endorsing the move by stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the issue whilst condemning hooliganism, Extreme Sports CEO Mr. Hussein Mohamed said, “We have been in discussions especially with key government officials on how to address this issue and as a result we agreed to bring the stakeholders together to map out a way to tackle the menace.
Without a lasting resolve, we risk destroying the livelihoods of many in this industry as football as a sport employs many.”
“Hooliganism destroys the foundation we are trying to lay for the development of professionally run football in this country and together I believe we will find lasting solutions that will help football grow.” Hussein added
The use of trained plain clothes police to identify and swiftly deal with brewing threats during matches was also fronted as way of curbing hooliganism.
Jail terms for the perpetrators were suggested as a means of showing the gravity of such offences thus deterring the fans from being mischievous.