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26.01.2005 Football News

Soccer fans want comprehensive security code for all stadiums

By GNA

Accra, Jan 26, GNA - Some soccer fans have called on stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive security strategy to ensure safety at the country's stadiums.

They contended that it is only when such a plan is developed that the reoccurrence of nasty incidents as was witnessed last Sunday during the Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Heart of Lions Coca-Cola Top Four match at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium could be prevented.

According to the opinions of soccer fans sampled by the GNA Sports, most of them said such a policy should involve everything, especially special courts to prosecute rowdy fans to serve as a deterrent to others who misconduct themselves at the stadiums.

Mr Frimpong Osei, a fan who was at the stadium last Sunday when fans ripped and hurled the plastic seats unto the tartan tracks, said he has realised that until such a security policy is put in place, there is a great possibility that such incidents would continue to occur. "I have heard people say that fans have not learnt lessons from the painful events of May 9, but my answer to them is that the passion and emotion involved in the game of football does not allow for that sort of reflection".

He said the present security arrangement at the stadiums was woefully inadequate since one cannot stand on the tartan tracks to control rowdy fans in the terraces.

Mr Osei suggested that "To control soccer fans, there is the need for a proactive approach where stadium stewards or security agents will be planted among the fans to pick out potential troublemakers before the situation spirals out of hand".

Mr Samuel Nortey, another soccer fan who watched the rioting on television, stressed the need for such a security plan to prevent Ghana from being branded among countries with uncontrollable soccer hooliganisms.

He cited hooliganism in England before the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster which killed 39 fans, mostly Italians through rioting before the European Cup Final between Italy's Juventus and English club Liverpool which went out of control.

Mr Nortey said, "But as soon as English clubs were banned from Europe they quickly sat down and drew a security plan and today the Premiership is one of the most safest leagues in Europe." He said the country does not need to experience another May 9 to sit down to draw such a plan, since the country will soon be hosting the African Cup of Nations in 2008.

Mr Nortey said if the Ghana Police Service, the National Sports Council and the Ghana Football Association do not have any idea of what it takes to provide such security, nothing prevents them from consulting the English for advice.

Another supporter, Henry Quartey asked whether the close circuit television cameras in the stadium were working when the fans were rioting and if so why have the Police not arrested anyone up to date. "It is not enough to mobilise almost the entire security network for one match as was done for the CAF Confederation Cup finals between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko and leave virtually no security for the other matches".

He said that until there is a comprehensive policy that will be used for all matches, such nasty incidents would always be witnessed as the game is about passion and emotions.

Last Sunday during the Coca-Cola Top 4 match between Heart of Lions and Kumasi Asante Kotoko at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, angry fans of Kokoto rioted at the stadium after a penalty, which in their opinion was awarded against them with just three minutes to end the match. The result of the match which was then one all before the penalty incident brought back memories of the May 9 disaster which resulted in the death of 128 soccer and which also started with the ripping and hurling of the plastic chairs in the stadium unto the tartan tracks.

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