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10.09.2004 Sports News

Officials of Ashanti Region threaten to boycott Sports Festival

By GNA

Bolgatanga, Sept. 10, GNA - Officials of the Ashanti Regional sporting team on Thursday threatened to boycott the on-going 26th Inter-Regional Basic Schools Sports Festival after alleging that some supporters of the host Region, the Upper East beat up its soccer players.

The timely intervention of the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mahani Salifu, however stopped the officials from their threat of packing and going home.

The officials expressed heir dissatisfaction about the lukewarm attitude of the officials of the host Region whom they said have not shown any concern about the incident and said they were surprised at the way and manner they were treated.

One of the officials who pleaded anonymity told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the Ashanti Regional soccer team including some officials were beaten up by some spectators believed to be residents of Bolgatanga after the Ashanti Region beat the Upper East Region in their crucial qualifying encounter on Wednesday at the Bolgatanga sports stadium.

The official said the threat issued to the team was so alarming and embarrassing that the officials could not take it any longer. The source said that what prompted them to contemplate on leaving the festival was the fact that after such a disgraceful act, no official from the Upper East Region visited the Ashanti camp to render an apology or even see how the wounded were faring.

He expressed concern that even at the juvenile stage, minors should be so impatient and put up such hostile attitude against their teachers. On Wednesday the two Regions clashed in a crucial encounter for qualification to the next stage of the soccer competition, and the Ashanti Region got the winning goal in the dying minutes of the match which therefore qualified them to the next stage of the competition, while the host region was eliminated.

The disqualification did not go down well with some youth believed to be residents of Bolgatanga who rushed onto the field and attacked the players, including the officials and the referees.

The Police on Thursday arrested five people for questioning for allegedly being behind the disturbances while other suspects are also being sought for to assist in investigations, a Police source said. The Upper East Regional Sports Organiser when contacted to comment on the issue declined to do so but said the situation was under control.

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