Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United both laid claim to the right hand side of the pitch for their warm-up ahead of their MTN8 clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane insisted they had the right to warm up on the right hand side as hosts, while United’s Stuart Baxter said according to Fifa’s international standard practice laws, visitors get the use of the right side, which also happened to be parallel to their dressing-room.
With neither club willing to compromise on the space an hour before the match kick-off – with TV cameras trained on them and spectators watching – both teams proceeded to complete their warm-up in somewhat cramped conditions on the right hand side.
This close proximity, of course, did nothing to calm players’ moods before the match.
Premier Soccer League (PSL) spokesman, Lux September, says action will follow. The PSL will be guided by the match commissioner’s report on the controversial MTN8 quarterfinal. The league could very well be forced to throw the Fifa Rulebook at the guilty party.
Baxter admitted the bench fiasco reflected badly and was embarrassing to South African football. The 63-year-old coach added that the tug-of-war for the same bench affected his players negatively, although he believes they were able to shrug it off.
“I think it’s an embarrassment and mark of shame on South African football that we have things like this,” Baxter said. “I’m not accusing anybody of anything, I’m just saying it was a parody – two teams trying to warm up in the same area.
“It meant the warm-up was compromised – at that point you could call the game off.
“They said the game could be called off but I said over my dead body, I want to play.