I have always maintained that our clubs are the number one problem of Ghana Football. Until they change, this canker of crowd violence which has become an albatross typical of a traditional dance I know in this country, will hardly stop.
Sadly, the two nasty incidents which occurred last week Sunday in Sunyani and Daboase in the Western Region were instigated by clubs. To say the two shameful events represented a drawback and a blot which put spokes in the wheel of the reform process will be an understatement.
Incidentally, the two unfortunate cases squarely fit into last week's article which sought to admonish the main stakeholders of Ghana Football to desist from certain negative tendencies which undermined the game in the past.
Without question, the decision by such an old club as Sekondi Hasaacas to abandon their game against Skyy FC at Daboase in protest of a late penalty, was as bad as the assault on FIFA referee Theresa Bremansu by some unscrupulous Prisons officers after their club's first leg semi-final match against Ampem-Darkoa Ladies in Sunyani. Both actions must be condemned in no uncertain terms as they brought the game into disrepute.
Let me pause here and remind our clubs and their followers that the game of football is governed by rules which must be adhered to by all stakeholders at all times, no matter the circumstance. If the clubs get it right, their supporters will follow suit!
I believe it is high time club officials concentrated on investing properly in their clubs instead of seeking for scapegoats anytime they lose matches. They should stop crying wolf when there is none, especially where the current crop of referees who are officiating in the GFA Normalisation Special Competition have been taken through a FIFA Integrity course as part of the ongoing reforms in Ghana Football.
I was so disappointed to hear that Hasaacas walked off the field in this age and time, simply because the referee of the match awarded the homes team a penalty late in the game. I think that kind of behaviour has no place in modern football. To be blunt, what a traditional club like Hasaacas did belonged to the stone age.
In modern football, clubs are supposed to abide by the rules, while players and club officials are supposed to respect the authority of match officials throughout the duration of a match. However, they have the right to lodge a protest against any match official whom they might have any reservation about during the game for the Disciplinary Committee to look into and sanction as and when necessary. But to take the law into their hands and act inappropriately smacks of indiscipline which should not be entertained in no uncertain terms.
That is why the level of hooliganism which was displayed by those hoodlums who paraded as Prisons officers at the Sunyani Army Park must be condemned.
Unfortunately, the Prisons team were exposed badly after losing 1-4 to Ampem-Darkoa Ladies in the second leg, vindicating Referee Theresa Bremansu in the process. That heavy defeat meant the Prisons team only sought to make Referee Bremansu a scapegoat to cover up their failure to match their rivals.
While commending the GFA Normalisation Committee for coming out swiftly to condemn the barbaric act visited on the innocent woman, I hope they will revise their notes to ensure the safety of our match officials during any competitive match. To start with, it was a serious blunder to allow such an important match between two regional rivals to be played on a barren pitch which also has no inner perimeter fencing.
This incident should also be a wake-up call for both the NC and the incoming GFA executives to consider extending the club licencing requirements to women's football to help improve the game and also protect lives.
As I wait impatiently on the DC to come out with its sanctions on the Prisons team and the individuals who were involved in the assault of Referee Bremansu in the coming days, I wish to commend them for the swift manner in which they ruled on the case involving Skyy FC and Hasaacas. I hope the sanctions, which include a GHC2,000 fine and a two-match ban each slapped on the coach and team manager of Hasaacas respectively, will go along way to curb a recurrence and also serve as a deterrent to other club officials.
I hope the DC will hand stiffer sanctions to both Hasaacas and Prisons FC to help check the rampant hooliganism which has become a part of our game, making it unpalatable for both club officials and their recalcitrant supporters to indulge in it.
Of course, Ghana football has suffered enough from these kinds of primitive tactics!