Pirates Suspend Development Programme
15 November 2012
Orlando Pirates have decided to suspend their Youth Development Programme with immediate effect as they look into allegations of age cheating within their ranks.
Age cheating is a problem that dogs several of Africa’s countries as youngsters look to get ahead in the game by telling coaches and technical teams that they are younger than they actually are.
Pirates are just the latest team to have heard of such things going on in their academy and, in order to try and stamp it out, have called for a suspension that will run until it is eradicated from their ranks.
A statement from last year’s treble champions said, “Unfortunately we are extremely concerned to have learned, recently, of instances of age cheating at our Youth Development Programme. It appears to be of a magnitude that calls for an immediate, and extensive, investigation.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club is suspending its Youth Development Programme in order to ensure that its investigation into age fraud does not disrupt the schooling of the youth in the Programme.
“The full scale investigation that the club is undertaking is as a result of the preliminary investigation that has identified occurrences of age cheating in our Youth Programme. This is of grave concern to the club as this practice does not only go against the Orlando Pirates Football Club value system, it is first and foremost, an illegal act of criminality that goes against the law. It is therefore incumbent upon the club to take immediate and drastic action.
“This process will start with a full-scale investigation that will be far reaching as it has to result in the total eradication of this problem and help us put systems into place to avoid any recurrence.
“To this effect, parents have been advised to make arrangements for their children to return to school nearer their homes under their complete supervision. The parents have also been urged to help in the investigation through their participation when duly requested.
“To ensure the investigation is thorough and unhindered, the club cannot at this stage indicate when the investigation will be complete.”
In 2010, Pirates’ rivals, Kaizer Chiefs, also did something similar, suspending a number of players for lying about their age, and it is thought that Bucs will do the same this time around.