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MBABANE – The incidents of violence in domestic league witnessed in the current season have not gone unnoticed by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs.

At least three major violence acts have been witnessed this season and they involved some of the country’s big teams in Mbabane Swallows and rivals Mbabane Highlanders. In this unprecedented wave of violence, fans were seen baying for match officials’ blood, where in some instances the referees were threatened and assaulted.  In one of the incident that took place last year in December, a fan was stabbed on the buttocks and was admitted in hospital.


These commotions not only concerned the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) and the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) as well as the sponsor MTN, but it has also drawn the attention of some Members of Parliament (MPs).  In a list of responses submitted by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, hardly two weeks ago during the ministry’s performance report and budget debate, the MPs pressured the ministry on this issue.
The ministry is headed by former national team Sihlangu gaffer and Mbabane East MP Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga.  

Nkomiyahlaba MP Welcome Shongwe wanted to know what the ministry was doing to curb the growing violence during soccer games. The ministry noted that they were following on the issues, but had given the football structures room to address it. “The issue of violence that is now common in games is currently being addressed in football within the legal structures, with sanctions meted out against those found guilty. The issue of safety is ongoing and being handled,” stated the ministry in its response.

Highlanders, who are currently the naughtiest team in the season, have been fined E110 000 in total for incidents related to causing violence during soccer matches. Meanwhile, their counterparts, Swallows, have been so far fined E70 000 on their case. Both teams have also played some home games behind closed doors as a sanction, with the former playing a single and the latter having two in empty stadiums.

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