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08.10.2008 Editorial

Three-day sentence is not enough


A Kumasi based court, according to news report has jailed Mr. Anin Ben Ayed, an Assistant Physiotherapist of Etoile d' Sahel Football Club of Tunisia, to three days imprisonment after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Ayed slapped the police during the tension packed Confederation of African Football (CAF) cup match between Kumasi Asante Kototo and Etoile d' Sahel in Kumasi, last Sunday. Ayed was immediately arrested after the match and put before court the following day where the three-day jail sentence was slapped on him.

The Chronicle wishes to congratulate the Kumasi police over the way they handled the case and the convict. Elsewhere, he would have been assaulted by way of retaliation, but the police restrained themselves by allowing the match to travel its full course before arresting the culprit -that is a mark of professional policing.

We at The Chronicle are, however, not happy with the three day jail sentence imposed on the convict by the court. We do not think if a Ghanaian was found guilty of the same offence, he or she would have been given such moderate sentence. The minimum term would have been three months.

If the incident had happened in Tunisia and had involved a Kotoko official, we do not think the Tunisian police and their court system would have treated the case with kid's gloves. They would have dealt with him according to their laws, but we have been very lenient with Ben Ayed.

The Chronicle believes that it is about time that criminal offences are treated as such, no matter where it happens. For sometime now, violent offences that are perpetuated in the name of football matches have been let off the hook, or the offenders usually escape with minimal fines. We believe that we have to lift the cloak on football and expose the miscreants of the game for who they really are.

The Chronicle contends that the punishment meted out to Ben Ayed is not deterrent enough. As an official of a football club, Ayed should have known better than to have allowed his emotions to rule his judgement. Ayed's fate should also serve as a warning to Kotoko and Ghanaian football teams that travel to play in Tunisia or other foreign countries in future, to behave well. They could suffer worst punishment should they follow the footsteps of Ayed.

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