Johannesburg - The Premier Soccer League and the FNB Stadium management have requested an urgent meeting with the Johannesburg Traffic Department this week to sort out the traffic problems which caused chaos before and after Saturday’s MTN8 semi-final first leg between Soweto glamour clubs Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
The PSL had sold all the 75 000 tickets available for the Soweto Derby and informed the Johannesburg Traffic Department how many spectators they expected at the match.
It took some fans up to two-and-a-half hours to get inside the stadium and getting out was slow after the pulsating 1-1 draw between these two PSL giants.
PSL chief operations officer Ronnie Schloss apologised to fans and said the situation could not continue. He blamed the problem on a lack of police officers controlling traffic getting into the stadium before the match.
“We do not control the traffic or have the authority to block off roads in and around the stadium," said Schloss.
He said the fans are blaming the PSL but the situation is beyond their control.
"We are sorry about the chaotic situation which led to some fans getting to the stadium at half-time.
"We had informed the (Johannesburg) Traffic Department we expect between 60 and 80 000 fans at the game but there were not enough traffic officers to handle the situation which got out of control. I was bombarded with complaints from angry supporters who were stuck in a huge traffic jam.
“We, as a league, are concerned as this situation and we need to sort it out and make sure our fans get in and out of our matches smoothly, quickly and with the least possible inconvenience otherwise it will hurt our business.
"Therefore, we need to have an urgent meeting to prevent this happening in future.”
The second leg of the MTN8 semi-final between Pirates and Chiefs will also be played at the FNB Stadium on September 26 and that fixture is a guaranteed sell-out. Schloss is determined to solve the traffic problem with the relative authorities before that match.
Schloss said the PSL was ranked as one of the top 20 most professionally run leagues in the world.
“We strive to get a better product to the paying customers and we have to solve this issue.”
Schloss suggested the Traffic Department go back to the way in which traffic authorities handled huge volumes of traffic at the same venue during the successful World Cup in June and July.
“The traffic control was superb during the World Cup," said the PSL chief.
"What I cannot understand is why the situation has deteriorated in two months since the end of the World Cup. The PSL, stadium management and the traffic department need to find a solution to this problem.”