Mr. Isaac Asiamah, Minister for Youth and Sports has urged football fans to show maturity and stay away from violence and hooliganism at match centers.
Speaking at yesterday’s commemoration of the Accra Sports Stadium May 9 disaster, Mr. Asiamah said, 18 years was enough for fans to grow and realise the need to desist from all forms of violence at match centers.
“Let us assume that, when the disaster occurred in 2001, fans were not matured and did not understand the need to be civil but after 18 years, it should be obvious for all to realise the effects of such a disaster and never allow it to happen again,” he stated.
On a sad note, however, the Minister expressed worry that, there are still reported cases of violence at match centers in recent times which does not speak well of Ghana’s football.
“People are still misbehaving at match venues after all these years. The fans must be responsible and stay away from such actions,” he stated.
He added that, Government would collaborate with stakeholders to crack the whip on supporters guilty of initiating and engaging in violence at match venues.
Spectators, he said, are very important in football and their actions and inactions go a long way to affect the game in positive and negative ways.
The Minister said fans and players must begin to see their opponents as partners in football and accept every outcome in good faith.
Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Prof. Peter Twumasi added that, “it is as if we have forgotten the unfortunate incident that occurred in 2001 following recent cases of assault, vandalism and indiscipline on the part of fans and club officials.”
“I again condemn these unfortunate incidents and to further send a strong message to all hooligans that the Authority will deny those found guilty of such acts access to our facilities,” he stated.
Chief Executive Officers of Accra Hearts of Oak, Mr. Frederick Moore and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, George Amoako all pledged their commitment to ensure that supporters were disciplined at match centers.
Dignitaries took turns to lay wreaths at the stadium disaster monument at the entrance of the stadium while supporter unions sang in commemoration of the day.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE