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23.11.2003 Football News

Let us have zero tolerance for corruption in soccer

By gna
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Ho, Nov. 23, GNA-Alhaji Rashid Bawa, Minister of State for Education, Youth and Sports on Saturday implored referees to embrace the government's policy of "zero tolerance for corruption" to help bring sanity and growth of the game of football.

"Every referee must endeavour to handle matches with a clean conscience, fairness and firmness to minimise or eradicate the riotous and tragic incidents at match venues", he advised.

Addressing a three-day 19th National Biennial Conference of the Referees Association of Ghana (RAG) in Ho, Alhaji Bawa said that was the only way through which referees could contribute their quota effectively, to the development of football in the country.

He said the country's quest for soccer renaissance would be achieved only when all stakeholders play their roles effectively and shy away from favouritism by adhering to fair play rules, interpreting the rules of the game correctly and employing communication channels to resolve impasses.

Alhaji Bawa, therefore, entreated RAG to put the right mechanism in place and map out strategies that would make their members "to stand the test of time by ensuring that transparency and fairness triumph over cronyism and favouritism".

He implored them to strive for excellence and unblemished performances for them to catch the eye of FIFA selectors to enable them officiate at FIFA and CAF soccer fiestas.

Alhaji Bawa said discussions were far advanced for an exchange programme between RAG and their counterparts in Australia to keep them abreast with modern and emerging trends of handling the game.

The Minister acknowledged the myriads of problems confronting members of the Knights of Whistle and cautioned club officials that it was criminal to assault referees in their anxiety to win matches at all cost.

Mr Kweku Ampem-Darko, Acting Chief Executive of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) said referees should equally attach importance to the development of the first and second division leagues matches adding, that the onus lies on referees to bring back the nation's lost glory in soccer.

He said in spite of efforts by coaches to develop the game, a referee's contribution was supreme since he could bring peace or riots into the game. Mr Louis Laryea, National Chairman of RAG advised them to demonstrate a high professionalism when handling matches.

Mr Mawutor Goh, Ho District Chief Executive, urged referees to give fair interpretation of the rules of the game in order to win the respect of lovers of football.

Togbe Asiamoah II, Asafofia of Ho-Bankoe, who presided asked referees to be disciplined and aspire to reach the highest level of the profession.

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