MASERU — Lioli Football Club are facing severe punishment from the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) that could signal the end of their quest for back-to-back Premiership titles.
The Berea giants — fighting a three-horse race for the Vodacom Premier League championship with pacesetters Matlama and third-placed LMPS — have been officially charged for the unruly behaviour of their fans, who went on the rampage and terrorised match officials following Lioli’s 1-3 loss to LMPS in Teyateyaneng last Sunday.
The league’s management has given Lioli until Tuesday to “show cause” why they should not be punished for the disturbances which come hardly two months after almost similar incidents of violence during the Lioli/Matlama match at Pitso Ground in Maseru on January 24, in which one person was shot.
League chairman Tlholo Letete told the Sunday Express on Thursday that Lioli are facing six counts of misconduct, and if found guilty “appropriate measures would be taken against them.”
“Lioli have been charged with about five to six counts of misconduct and should respond to the charges by Tuesday,” Letete said.
“If they are found guilty, appropriate measures will be taken against them,” he said.
Letete could, however, not be drawn to speculate on the possible sanctions facing Lioli if found guilty.
But according to the Lesotho Premier League Code of Ethics 2008, the PLMC has the powers to impose the following fines on any team convicted of violating any of its statutes.
lDock three points and three goals from its pool.
lRecommend expulsion from the league.
lDemotion to the next lower division.
lPlay a match in an empty stadium.
lBan from taking part in any football-related activity.
lM10 000 fine.
Should, for instance, Lioli be found guilty and docked three points and three goals, it could sound the death knell for their aspirations of not only retaining their league title but also finishing among the top four come end of the season.
Going into the weekend matches, Lioli were in second place, seven points behind leaders Matlama with eight matches before the season comes to a close in May.
Meanwhile, local referees have slammed both the PLMC and the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) for failing to provide them with adequate security at soccer matches.
The Lesotho Referees Association spokesperson, Rethusitsoe Lebaka, said the authorities had failed their membership despite reassurances officials would be protected at all topflight matches.
“The most important thing is to go back to the people (PLMC and Lefa) who assured us that referees were going to get maximum security at every premier league match,” Lebaka said.
“It is not fair that our referees are still being harassed despite the guarantees.”
Lebaka said the LRA would be consulting with “relevant stakeholders.”
“We don’t want to be boycotting matches, but what we would want to ask is what is being done to deal with this issue?”