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Here's Maybe Why The Soweto Derby Continued Even After The Death Of Fans

People are upset the match continued after two people died.

31/07/2017 16:10 SAST | Updated 28/09/2017 08:32 SAST
FNB Stadium/Twitter

Analysis

Social media users have questioned why the Soweto Derby match continued at the weekend shortly after two people were killed during a stampede at FNB Stadium.

Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs proceeded with their match on Saturday in the Carling Black Label cup despite the tragedy.

In April 2001, 43 people were killed in a crush at Ellis Park Stadium during another match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

And 10 years before that, 42 people died in a crush between the same two teams at the Oppenheimer Stadium in the city of Orkney.

EWN/Twitter

With a lot of money, logistics, media and fans invested in the annual event, here are some of the reasons why the match continued.

Money and sponsors

The situation was totally under control Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

Carling Black Label Cup is a huge pre-season calendar game. It has been hyped up for months and a lot of money and sponsors such as Vodacom and Carling Black Label invested in the event. Tickets were sold out two weeks before the match because of the demand of the Soweto Derby. The event attracts the largest crowds to the stadium for events (80, 000+) because it is considered the biggest football rivalry in Africa.

The cup is boosted by the sales of local beer brand Black Label, where fans have to buy beer in order to vote on who plays and how the team sets itself out. Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates both shared millions of votes between them.

It basically gives the fans power to decide who plays and how to play.

Chiefs, Pirates, Black Label, FNB Stadium and SAFA enjoyed huge financial benefits from the tournament.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO of Stadium Management SA, told talk radio 702 on Monday: "Fifty organisations involved have a responsibility, there is also a responsibility on the part of the public."

"Police confiscated about 3,000 counterfeit tickets that fans had in their possession at the match." He said arrests had been made and an investigation is underway in relation to the sale of counterfeit tickets.

Football fans

Perhaps the biggest fear from tournament organisers is the reaction and anger of fans if a match is cancelled. Earlier this year, Orlando Pirate fans invaded the pitch and broke chairs after their 6-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria.

FNB Stadium/Twitter

Fans get easily frustrated if their team loses and destroy property. If the coach messes up, he gets threats from his own supportsers, like Johan Neeskens with Mamelodi Sundowns. Now could you imagine the scenes at full capacitated FNB stadium if the organisers said the match was cancelled. The fans would lose it

The situation might have been even worse if the match was cancelled.

One consideration is how 80,000 fans -- who travelled from all around the country and made accommodation and logistics arrangements prior to the event -- would react if they heard the much-hyped match was cancelled.

Biggest losers

The biggest losers from the FNB stampede is South African football as a whole. Following the 2001 tragedy, the South African Football Association still have not learnt from their mistake. Angry fans are starting to become a perennial problem that SAFA needs to fix before more lives are lost at games.

Here is Irvin Khoza's response to the incident:

Is football more important than lives lost? That is the general consensus after the match resumed. South African stadium management is also the biggest losers. This was evident in the statement made by Grobbelaar when he said the situation was under control, when really it was not.

He said: "There was no pressure at the gates after this incident so no reason to stop the game and create mass panic. The situation was totally under control and it is preserved in CCTV footage."

Football fans should be disappointed at themselves, why go to a stadium when there are no tickets. Why sell counterfeit ticket when a match is sold out.

"It was a group of about 350 people who created a rolling mass moving from gate to gate and trying to push open gates," Grobbelaar said.

It was definitely a dark day in South African football and people took to Twitter to express how they felt.