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15.04.2004 Football News

Hooliganism takes centre stage at congress

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Accra, April 15, GNA - The problem of hooliganism in Ghana soccer took a centre stage at the ongoing two-day annual congress of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) in Accra on Thursday.

The issue was raised by Major Retired Lawrence Yaw Larson, Chief Executive Officer of Kumasi Asante Kotoko who petitioned congress to outline strict measures to deal with future hooligans and the concern saw almost all the participants expressing their concerns and supporting his suggestions.

Mr Larson tasked the congress to introduce new instruments that will deter hooligans from engaging themselves in what he described as "barbaric acts" which seek to destroy the growth of the game. Alhaji Yussif Ibrahim, Chairman of the Executive Council of the GFA conceded that the association's failure to do enough in the past to put "the fear of God" into the perpetrators of the acts have seen consistent growth in the game of football in recent years.

He wondered with agony why strict measures cannot be introduced into the game whilst sharing a circular he read which empowers football associations to deduct between 3-12 points from clubs which allow their supporters to cause riots.

Mr Justice Alexander Kwabena Baah Ampiah, Chairman of Congress was blunt with the fact that culprits did not received deserving punishment and prosecution in the past, adding, "That the situation has encouraged fans to come this far with this indecent act".

He recommended that future culprits be ruthlessly dealt with in order to uproot the canker from eating deep into the fabric of the games' development.

Mr Joseph Yaw Appiah, Chairman of the Ghana League Clubs Association, (GHALCA) however like his counterpart, Alhaji Karim Gruzah, founder of Kumasi King Faisal also resorted to "blame game" which was put at the door steps of the Disciplinary Committee of the GFA. Both men believe selective justice exhibited by the committee in the past has encouraged hooliganism.

The two chairmen did not mince words when they accused the committee of dealing leniently with the two most glamorous clubs in the country, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko as against the other teams. When the out gone chairman, Mr Benjamin Koufie took his turn, he on the contrary directed his blame to the clubs saying they encourage their supporters to misbehave in their quest to win games.

He said the FA could do very little without help from the clubs whilst expressing the conviction that hooliganism can be uprooted in the soccer arena.

He called on the clubs to educate their supporters on the need to remain professionals in their support and to be aware of the implications of their acts.

Other speakers urged the FA to introduce cameras at all league centres to help curb the situation.

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