Ghanaians have not learnt any lessons from May 9 - fans
Sunyani, (B/A) May 09, GNA – Football fans in the Sunyani Municipality of the Brong-Ahafo Region have suggested the need for perpetrators of crowd violence during football matches to be arrested and prosecuted at the law courts and imprisoned if found guilty.
The fans were expressing their views and concerns in random interviews conducted by GNA Sports in Sunyani on Wednesday at the backdrop of the 11th anniversary of the 2001 May 9 Stadium Disaster in which 126 football fans lost their lives at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The incident happened during an epic Premier League encounter between bitter rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
Ike Baffour-Awuah and Lawrence Gyan, both journalists, expressed regret that a number of incidents had occurred at various stadia in the country after the disaster.
“There is no gainsaying that most Ghanaians have not learnt a lesson from this sad and worst sports incident in the country”, Baffour-Awuah said.
Gyan cited two recent nasty incidents that occurred at the Cape Coast Robert Mensah Memorial Sports Stadium and Sunyani Coronation Park this year to buttress the points.
The incident in Cape Coast occurred when aggrieved supporters of local Ebusua Dwarfs were reported to have gone on rampage during a second round Premier League encounter against Dormaa Aduana Stars and subjected the officiating referee to severe beating for disallowing a late goal.
The journalists recalled that last Sunday at the Sunyani Coronation Park where two local relegated Premier clubs, B.A. United and Bofoakwa Tano clashed in a National First Division match, it was reported that the match officials were pelted with stones and other missiles, bringing the match to an abrupt end in the 19th minute.
In all these unfortunate incidents Ghanaians are yet to be informed whether the perpetrators have been arrested by the Police, let alone dealt with according to the laws of the land, they said.
Mr. Stephen Afful, a popular barber at Kotokrom, a suburb of Sunyani, condemned crowd violence during League matches but blamed some referees “who take bribes from club officials to cheat opposing teams”.
The barber, popularly called “British Jack” recalled a bribery scandal involving a referee at a sports stadium in the country.
“Even though the said referee was caught red handed with the alleged bribe money found in his socks when searched by irate fans, no punishment was meted to him by the authorities, he noted.
Mr Afful called on football fans, coaches, the media, referees and all others who matter in the game of football to be tolerant in the running of football in the country.
The media, particularly the FM radio stations must stop fanning hostilities and the police must also not be lenient with offenders of crowd violence, he said.
Mr Afful noted with regret that referees and most football fans have not learnt any lesson from the May 9th incident and called on the government to take action on and implement the findings of the Okudjeto Committee that was set up that year to probe the incident at the Accra Sports Stadium.