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Misguided PSL find Peter Muduhwa found guilty for failing to protect match officials

by Staff reporter
12 Oct 2023 at 06:28hrs | Views
Highlanders vice-captain and defender, Peter "21 Questions" Muduhwa, was found guilty by the Premier Soccer League disciplinary committee for failing to protect match officials against acts of violence, attempted acts, or other forms of abuse before, during, or after a match.

The disciplinary committee's judgment cited an incident that took place on September 10, 2023, at Barbourfields Stadium during a league match between Highlanders FC and Dynamos FC. The referee reported that Muduhwa Peter, the Highlanders player numbered 21, obstructed them from entering the dressing room and shouted, "Lingabavuleli batshiyeni betshaywe" (Don't open for them, leave them so that they are beaten).

The disciplinary committee, chaired by Doreen Gapare, with members Wellington Magaya and Ralph Tsivama, determined that Muduhwa's actions violated Order 31 of the Castle Lager PSL Rules and Regulations. Specifically, he contravened Rule 31.2.11, which states that it is an Act of Misconduct for a player to fail to protect match officials against acts or attempted acts of violence or any other form of abuse before, during, or after a match. Additionally, Muduhwa was found to have breached Rule 31.2.16, which pertains to conduct considered ungentlemanly, insulting, or improper behavior that may bring the game, its sponsors, any member, the league, ZIFA, CAF, or FIFA into disrepute.

Muduhwa, accompanied by club vice-chairperson Sifiso Siziba and Oppah Mpofu, initially pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, he was subsequently found guilty and fined $500, payable by October 17. He also received a four-match suspension.


Below is the full judgement.

JUDGEMENT

Evidence was led from the referee Allan Bhasvi who testified to the effect that during the Chaos that ensued when there was a problem of crowd control the accused ran and instructed that the person manning the gate should not open for the referees and that they should be left to be beaten by the fans. The referee stated that he knows the accused and can positively identify him. He further stated that he has no reason to lie against him or fabricate events.

During cross examination, the player and the club representatives sought to discredit the referee as being biased and made reference to a prior incident. The referee was clear that he made all efforts to manage the tense atmosphere as it appeared that the player wanted to taunt or gourd him into making a determination or ruling that would somehow play into the narrative that the referee was biased against the accused.

The committee found the witness' evidence to be credible and reliable. He presented his evidence in a clear and concise manner, even during cross examination by the accused. The accused sought to discredit the witness but inadvertently revealed that it was in fact he who held a grudge against the referee from their prior encounters. It can be reasonably inferred that the accused harbored some residual resentment from their previous encounters to an extent that when violence broke out he may have uttered the ungentlemanly and improper words and therefore failed to protect match officials against acts or attempted acts of violence or any other form of abuse before, during or after a match.

Reasons for Sentence

in arriving at the appropriate sentence, we have considered the evidence and the submissions made by both parties. We have taken into account that the accused is a professional footballer who makes a living through playing football. As a team vice- captain he is aware that players have a major responsibility to protect the image of the game and team captains play an important role in helping to ensure that the laws of the game and referees and match officials are respected. If the accused felt that the referee had been biased against him in the past as suggested he should have followed the proper channel in lodging a protest against referee, rather than choosing to take advantage of the chaotic situation and utter such statements.

Furthermore, the accused made the statement at a time when tensions were high and there was violence and damage to property which ultimately caused the match to be abandoned. We are convinced that the accused indeed uttered those words or words to the like effect were uttered by him.

In arriving at the appropriate sentence, we have taken into account the fact that there is a need to ensure that players are deterred from acting on their emotions. A threat of violence is indeed violence. There is need, therefore, to send a very strong message to deter such minded people.

In arriving at the appropriate sentence, we stand guided by the standing orders, and the principle of consistency and uniformity.

Source - The Chronicle