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09.01.2006 Football News

NSC cannot be blamed for crowd violence

By GNA

Accra, Jan 9, GNA - Following last Sunday's pitch invasion by supporters of Accra Hearts of Oak in the Ga Mantse Cup Memorial Cup match against Division One side, Accra Great Olympics, concerns have been expressed from certain quarters as to which authority endorsed the match at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, which is currently undergoing renovation exercise. Some concerned people feel the stadium was not conducive for such competitive matches and could have resulted in the loss of innocent lives.

Fans of Hearts in the later parts of the match invaded the pitch to express their dissatisfaction with referee Joseph Lamptey, who they claim had ignored a handball incident by a player of Olympics in the penalty box. The fans grew impatient and could not be stopped by the scanty security men on duty who surged forward in their numbers in an attempt to attack the referee, who had to take to his heels to avoid a possible attack. While some of the blame has been placed squarely at the doorsteps of the National Sports Council (NSC), owners of the stadium, Mr Charles James Aryeh, the acting Chief Executive Officer has however disputed the assertion. Mr Aryeh said the Council went into an agreement with the organisers of the match, the Ga Traditional Council and all the parties involved that it would not be bear any responsibility for any casualty. Speaking to the GNA Sports, Mr Aryeh said the Sports Council is totally absolved in the case and no one can point a finger at it for allowing the match to be played at the stadium, which had had almost every part of it touched with hammer in preparations for the 2008 Nations Cup. Mr Aryeh said prior to the match, an undertaking was signed between the Sports Council, the two clubs and the organisers concerning the condition of the stadium.

A copy of the undertaking made available to the GNA Sports revealed that the Ga Traditional Council was represented Nii Adjetey Kraku III, Tema Mantse with Mr Aryeh representing the Sports Council. The documents indicated that Albert Commey, Deputy Public Relations Officer of Accra Hearts of Oak and Stephen K. Adjei Numashie, Vice Chairman of Great Olympics signing on behalf of their respective clubs. The document read, "All parties are aware that the current situation of the stadium is not conducive as security and safety of players and supporters cannot be guaranteed" "That the National Sports Council is absolved of any responsibility towards any accident which may occur because of the removal of the items towards their evacuation for the rehabilitation". The document further stated that, "all parties agree to go ahead knowing the real state of affairs at the stadium".

According to Mr Aryeh, they were advised by the contractors that the stadium was not conducive for the organisation of any competitive and passionate game such as a football match between Hearts and Olympics, the two city rivals, since all the metal rails and communication system among others have been dismantled. Mr Aryeh said upon an appeal from the Ga Traditional Council and the Greater Accra Regional Minister, the match was allowed to go on. As at the time of the invasion, the Wonder Club were leading 2-1, with Andy Pomayie finding the net in the early minutes of the game with Eric Nyarko equalising before the close of the first half. Hearts reject, Winfred Dormon made it two for Olympics in the second half.

The Ohene Djan Sports Stadium is one of the designated venues for the hosting of the Nations Cup whose massive renovation exercise is been undertaken by Micheleti Construction Company. When completed the stadium is expected to be an all seater model to accommodate 40,000 spectators, the required capacity by the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF).

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