The Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) have launched a joint initiative to help reduce crime in the country.

The initiative will officially start this coming weekend at the Multi-Choice Diski Challenge Festival to be staged at Hammarsdale, outside Durban.

The crime prevention strategy is specifically aimed at the youth. This as football is by far the best supported sporting code in the country.

The plan going forward is to use sport to help address the problem of crime.

Football administrators and law enforcers are now joining hands to try and make a difference.

Irvin Khoza PSL Chairman says: “There’s no alternative to engaging and guiding the youth to society that wants to thrive; the wisdom and truth in the adage prevention is better than cure cannot be over emphasised. It is easy to neglect the youth with a false belief that we have time for corrective action later”.

The three biggest challenges facing South Africa are drug abuse, family violence, and gangsterism.

Bheki Cele Minister of Police says: “Policing is a partnership with communities; it doesn’t matter even if half of the 57.3 million South Africans are police. If they don’t work with the communities it won’t work especially the young people”.

The partnership will also lead to the improvement of security at football stadiums, to make it a safer environment for the fans.

In recent months South Africa has been rocked by ugly scenes of violence at football matches, and in particular at Durban’s Moses Mabida Stadium in April this year in a match involving Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars.

Scores of soccer fans were also injured at Loftus Versfeld during a match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.

“There are people who don’t just come to the match. They are coming to do other things than coming and watch the match so we want football to be a go to place with families,” says Khoza.

“We enjoy the soccer match under safety but we don’t overwhelm the people by bringing more police,” adds Cele.

The PSL is positive that it will host incident-free matches this season, following the safety and security workshops it organised with clubs during the off season.