EXCESSIVE drinking, smoking, booing and fighting will have to be brought under control by Eastern Province Rugby and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium after a number of incidents were reported during Saturday's match between the Sharks and Southern Kings.
After many fans complained on social media channels that the excessive booing from both supporter camps and a fight between fans marred the Super Rugby clash, one group of fans has launched an anti-booing campaign.
Kings rugby boss Cheeky Watson said the situation was being addressed, but would not elaborate. He also did not explain how drinking would be curbed at the stadium.
Buli "G" Ngomane, the general manager of corporate affairs at Access Management, which runs the stadium, said the company was concerned about the rise in the number of brawls and drunk fans, particularly around the bar areas.
She said it was usually only a few fans who caused the disruptions, with the majority well-behaved.
Access Management would embark on responsible messaging drives at the venue in an effort to rid matches of unwanted elements such as public brawls, excessive alcohol use and the breaking of bylaws when it came to smoking, as well as other public disturbances, Ngomane said.
More visible policing would also hopefully put a lid on unruly behaviour. "We are limiting the sale of beers to two per person at a time, in an attempt to better control and hopefully curb the levels of inebriation," Ngomane said.
She encouraged fans to send a text to 083-2045056 the minute they witnessed bad behaviour at the stadium.
"This will enable the security personnel to get to the scene of any potential trouble as quickly as possible, and hopefully they will soon prevent bad behaviour from even occurring.
"This number has been introduced to make the public feel safer."
Stuart Weir, chairman of the Kings Army, a supporter group for Eastern Province rugby and the Southern Kings, said many supporters had commented on Facebook about the booing during Saturday's clash.
"We actually received a letter from a Sharks fan who was pretty disgusted with all the booing which took place on both sides. We posted the letter on the Facebook group and had 176 comments, with 99% of the people saying they were totally upset and very embarrassed," he said.
Weir said the supporters' debate also became heated, with many saying they would not return to the stadium and others that they would not take their children to matches again.
"I spoke to the guys at the stadium and told them they had a problem, quite a few problems, because the booing is just one of many.
"I thought we should start this anti-booing campaign and maybe get some pamphlets ready and distribute them to the fans, just getting the message out there and telling them the importance of respect."
Weir said while booing did happen elsewhere, it was not as excessive in other cities. "It is a bad image for PE and we really need to spread the message that we want it to stop.
"We want to create an environment where families can come out together and enjoy the rugby."
He said many fans supported the idea of the campaign.
Sharks spokeswoman Novashni Chetty said while the team did not comment on incidents at other stadiums, as part of its public announcements on the day of a match it advised fans to refrain from booing.