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02.09.2003 Football News

Hearts protest against Referees Walker-Djomoah

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Accra, Sept 2, GNA - Defending League Champions Accra Hearts of Oak have lodged a formal protest over what they described as biased officiating by referee Samuel Essel-Walker and his assistant Nicholas Djomoah in their 18th-week Kinapharma Premier league match against archrivals Asante Kotoko at the Accra Sports Stadium last Sunday. Cape Coast-based referee Essel-Walker allowed Kotoko's Yusif Chibsah's 59th-minute questionable equaliser to stand after goalkeeper Eben Dida was badly hurt in clash with striker Shilla Alhassan and subsequently spilled the ball.

The statement, signed by Mr. Ashford Tettey-Oku Administrative Manager of Hearts, condemned the performance of the two referees and advised the Professional League Board (PLB), the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Referees Appointment Committee to "freeze their appointment for all future matches involving Hearts".

It said the club has noted with great concern the inconsistency and bizarre circumstances that led to the last-minute appointment of referee Essel-Walker "to the joy of some Kotoko officials".

According to the statement, referee Essel-Walker lost control of the game, which nearly resulted in re-enactment of the May 9 Stadium disaster.

It accused the referee of bias and selective application of the laws of the game in favour of Kotoko.

"We will not make a declaration of persona non grata on any referee for poor officiating whether induced or genuine but will not sit unconcerned while the precious lives and careers of our players are put at risk", the statement said.

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