Minister calls for end to crowd violence

BY: Bernard Neequaye
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, laying the wreath
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, laying the wreath

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, has called for an end to crowd violence which destroys the beautiful atmosphere at the various stadia.

Mr Asiamah stressed the need for spectators to believe in match officials to deliver good results during football matches.

Speaking yesterday at a commemorative ceremony to mark the 18th anniversary May 9 Stadium Disaster that saw over 127 supporters of Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko lose their lives at the Accra Sports Stadium, the minister said his outfit was keen on dealing with hooligans at match venues with anyone found culpable of violence being made to face the law.

He called on all stakeholders of the game to use football as a tool for national unity by learning from the stadium disaster which claimed many innocent lives in 2001.

“There is a need for supporters of our beautiful game of football to accept results in matches and not resorting to violence when decisions don’t go in their favour.

“I think we need to learn from that unfortunate event that happened in 2001 by using the game as a tool for national unity. My office is bent on dealing with anyone found culpable of crowd violence,” he said.

The Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Prof. Peter Twumasi, on his part lamented the recent hooliganism which occurred at certain match venues and called on spectators to always think of the consequences of crowd violence.

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The Managing Director of Hearts and the Chief Executive Officer of Kotoko, Messrs Frederick Moore and George Amoako respectively charged supporters to take results and outcomes of matches in good faith in order to prevent violence at match venues.

Mr Christopher Annan, Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the May 9 Disaster Fund, said his outfit had been able to cater for the educational needs of 100 children of the victims, with 48 others at the various stages of completion of their education.

He explained that the mandate of the fund could only be over when the last child of the deceased completed senior high school by age 21.

“The core mandate of the fund was to cater for the educational needs of the children left behind by the victims and as I speak to you, we have been able to deal with 100 of them, with 48 at various stages of completing their education,” Mr Annan said.

The minister later led dignitaries present and children of the victims to lay wreaths to the departed souls of the disaster that had been described as the worst in Africa.