Oblivious: Fans at the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Oblivious: Fans at the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

THE decision to allow the friendly game between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs to continue after a fatal stampede outside FNB Stadium on Saturday is proving to be a hard one to account for by the organisers of the pre-season match.

Pirates and Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza acknowledged on Monday it was a very difficult question to answer after two people died and several others were injured‚ one critically‚ during the sold-out Carling Black Label Champion Cup encounter.

"There are all these things which make it difficult to say how to deal with this issue‚" Khoza said on Monday.

"There is a moral issue that if ever somebody dies in your house where there was a 21st birthday‚ celebration or wedding … Can you go on with the wedding or party?" They were gathering information to provide answers and determine who was accountable.

Questions continue to be asked about why the match was allowed to continue after the tragedy. The game was completed and the Chiefs fans and players celebrated after beating Pirates 1-0, seemingly oblivious to the tragic scenes just metres away from the pitch.

Khoza said that "an independent person of unquestionable integrity" would be asked to investigate the circumstances that led to the stampede.

The person, who will investigate whether there were any safety and security-related shortcomings, would have to provide a full report to the PSL within 14 days.

Khoza and his Chiefs counterpart, Kaizer Motaung, said on Monday they had written to acting PSL CEO Mato Madlala asking the league to investigate the matter.

The two soccer bosses said they would recuse themselves from the investigation.

They had requested that the person concerned be instructed urgently to obtain all necessary reports "including from the South African Police Service, the stadium‚ the safety and security providers‚ the clubs and the sponsors"‚ Khoza said.

They had furthermore asked that the person "be instructed to provide the full report to the PSL executive committee within 14 days to ensure that a proper assessment can be made" about the appropriate steps that needed to be taken.

"In our view, the most appropriate person to conduct such an investigation should be an eminent senior counsel."

Both clubs undertook to "do everything possible to assist in the investigations".

It was not the first time fans have died during a match between Chiefs and Pirates. On April 11 2001‚ 43 people died during a stampede at Ellis Park. On January 13 1991‚ 42 lives were lost during a friendly game between the sides at the Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney.

Motaung said that they were considering holding a memorial service for the two fans in the coming days.

"We are going to engage the families of the deceased … and we are also contemplating organising a memorial service as and when we get information of the other person [which] has not been disclosed to us yet‚" Motaung said.

South African Breweries said on Monday it would contribute to the funeral costs of the
two fans.

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