Appeals Committee upholds King Faisal appeal, match against Dwarfs to be replayed
The GFA Appeals Committee has ruled that the GN Bank Division One League Match day One game between King Faisal and Cape Coast Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs should be replayed.
This decision sets aside the Disciplinary Committee ruling which awarded three points and three goals to Ebusua Dwarfs with King Faisal also losing three (3) points from the club's accumulated points from previous matches.
King Faisal filed an appeal against that ruling and in its decision delivered on 16th April, 2015, the Appeal's Committee took the following decision:
1. On the 21st February, 2015, the appellants were scheduled to host the respondents at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi to play a GN Bank Division One League match. The match could not be played because, according to the match officials, there was lack of adequate security presence.
2. The respondents, blaming the appellants for failing to fulfil their obligation under articles 10(1) and 10(2) of the Division One League Special Regulations to provide adequate security, protested to the Disciplinary Committee (DC) of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) on the 24th February, 2015 for the appellants to be declared as having forfeited the match under article 34(1)(b) of the GFA General Regulations with its attendant sanctions.
3. At the conclusion of trial, the DC upheld the protest and declared the appellants as having forfeited the match and applied all the sanctions provided under the relevant provisions of article 34 of the GFA General Regulations. Specifically, the DC imposed the following sanctions:
“1. That for failing to provide adequate security for the match and thus, positioning itself in such a way to render the progress of the match impossible, King Faisal FC shall forfeit the match in accordance with Article 34(1) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
2. That having been found to have forfeited the match, King Faisal FC shall be considered as having lost the match in accordance with Article 34(12) and accordingly, three (3) points and three (3) goals are hereby awarded in favour of Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs SC in accordance with Articles 34(2) and 34(10) of the General Regulation of the GFA.
3. That in addition, being the defaulting club, King Faisal FC shall lose three (3) points from the club's accumulated points from previous matches pursuant to Article 34(5)(a) of the General Regulations of the GFA (note that this Article does not deduct any goals from the accumulated goals of the defaulting club).
4. That in addition, being the defaulting club, King Faisal FC is hereby fined Two Thousand Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GH¢2,500.00) payable to the GFA, 50% of which shall be paid to Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs pursuant to Article 34(5)(a) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
5. That in addition, being the home club, King Faisal FC is hereby ordered to pay an amount of Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GH¢500.00) as the transportation expenses of the away team, Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs SC payable to the GFA which shall be paid to Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs pursuant to Article 34(5)(a) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
6. That the fine mentioned in Decision 4 and 5 above, shall be paid to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which King Faisal FC shall automatically forfeit all subsequent matches after the said deadline in accordance with Article 39(8)(b) of the First Amendment to the GFA General Regulations.
7. That should any party be dissatisfied with or aggrieved by this Decision, the party has within three (3) days of being notified of this Ruling to appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association. (See Article 37(11) of the General Regulations of the GFA).”
4. It is against this decision that the appellants have filed the instant appeal praying for the reversal of the decision and the setting aside of the sanctions and an order for the match to be played.
5. In our view, this appeal raises a crucial issue as to the extent and scope of the obligation imposed by the relevant Regulations of the GFA on home clubs to provide adequate security at match venues.
Article 10(1) of the Division One League Special Regulations reads:
“Unless the GFA/DOLB states otherwise, the security detail on each match day rest solely on the home Clubs and it shall be its responsibility to ensure that the match is played in a safe, secure and sound environment”
Article 10 (2) of the said Regulations also reads as follows:
“Home Clubs are responsible for the safety of match Officials and the visiting Club and Officials”
6. Undoubtedly, the above-stated provisions place an obligation on the home club to provide adequate security at match venues to ensure not only that the match is played in a safe, secure and sound environment, but also to ensure the safety of match officials, visiting clubs and their officials.
7. However, it must be noted that it is common knowledge that security at GFA sanctioned matches are provided usually by the police and/or other state security institutions and not by private persons or institutions whose loyalty, commitment professional integrity, neutrality and impartiality in their conduct is or perceived to be doubtful. To this extent, the nature of obligation imposed on the home club is to make reasonably necessary arrangements to procure the presence of adequate security at match venues.
8. Besides making the necessary arrangements, it must be noted that the clubs do not have any direct control as to the conduct and operational capabilities of the security institutions.
9. Accordingly, in our opinion, if all reasonably necessary arrangements are found to have been made by a home club, but for any reason beyond its control the expected security detail fail to avail themselves at match venues, then it would be highly unjust and unfair to punish a home club for such failure. In our view, in making a determination as to whether a home club has discharged its obligation under the said security provision articles, each case must be considered on its facts.
10. In the instant case, the facts show that the appellants, by a letter dated the 19th February, 2015 and addressed to the Regional Officer–in-Charge. Operations and Sports Division, Ghana Police Service, Kumasi, requested for ten police personnel to be provided at their home matches including the match in question. Attached to the letter was the match fixtures of all the home matches of the appellants for the 2014/2015 season.
11. The evidence further shows that on the match day, only four police officers were released by the police who were available to provide security but they were considered by the match officials to be inadequate in number considering that the appellants had indicated at the pre-match technical meeting that ten police personnel world be available to provide security.
12. In the face of these facts, could the appellants be said to have discharged or reasonably discharged their obligation to provide security?
13. It is our view that the appellants did what was reasonably required of them in the circumstances to ensure the prevalence of safe environment for the match, especially so in the absence of any other evidence to show that the appellants failed to make any attempt or reasonable attempt at arranging for the provision of adequate security for the said match. Besides, there is no evidence that before the match day, the police declined the request of the appellants to provide security to warrant the need to make alternative arrangements for that propose.
14. This position is further buttressed by a letter from the Regional Police Headquarters, Kumasi dated the 6th March, 2015, signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) O. K. Ampofo – Duku on behalf of the Regional Commander and addressed to the General Secretary of the GFA in reference to the appellants' request for police personnel by which the police explained their inability to provide the number of personnel requested by the appellants.
15. The said letter confirmed the receipt, albeit late, of the appellants' letter for request for ten police personnel to provide security for the match. The letter further indicated that the police could provide only four personnel due to manpower constraints.
16. Clearly, the reason for the non-mobilisation of ten personnel as requested by the appellants for the match was totally beyond the control of the appellants.
17. In the circumstances, it is our considered view that it would be unjust and unfair to blame the appellants for the unavailability of the adequate number of police personnel to provide security for the match.
18. As stated earlier, we find that the appellants adequately or reasonably discharged their obligation under articles 10(1) and 10(2) of the Division One Special Regulations. In the premises, we hold that the decision of the DC is unsupported by the evidence on record.
19. Accordingly, we hereby find merit in this appeal and uphold same. The appeal therefore succeeds and the decision of the DC is hereby set aside.
20. In the result it is ordered that the Division One League Board should reschedule the said match to be played at a specified date.
21. No costs is awarded.