The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Evan Opoku Bobie, has condemned recent reported acts of assaults and indiscipline by football fans at various centres.
The Deputy Sports Minister also expressed concern about issues relating to alleged match fixing, warning that they have the tendency to fuel spectator agitations.
According to him, if this unfortunate trend of events were not addressed as a matter of urgency, it may lead to an undesirable situation which may lead to loss of lives.
Mr Bobie said this yesterday when he delivered the keynote address at the 21 edition of the May 9 Accra Sports Stadium disaster that claimed 127 lives after a football match involving Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
The event was attended by traditional authorities, top hierarchy of the National Sports Authority (NSA), staff of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), relations of the victims and fans of the two clubs.
Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Minister stated that the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and the NSA will continue to engage the security agencies to ensure that fans found guilty of such offences at league venues were punished.
“We also expect that these culprits would be made to face the full rigours of the law to serve as a deterrent to others.”
He urged football fans to desist from such acts and be minded by the consequences of their action at the stadium.
“Let’s use this solemn occasion to reflect on the losses and pain that the bereaved families have endured to date and as such sympathise with them and encourage them to be strong in this difficult moment.”
He congratulated all stakeholders, including the Security agencies, the GFA, the NSA, the media and other organisations and individuals who played various roles to ensure that Ghana hosted a successful World Cup qualifier against Nigeria at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
In a solidarity message, the General Secretary of the GFA, Mr Prosper Harrison Addo, warned that very strict sanctions would be applied to culprits identified at the stadium.
According to him, maintaining law and order at the various centres was a collective responsibility of all and urged fans to report those that cause trouble to the law enforcement agencies to be dealt with.
”Most of the individuals that perpetuate these crimes live in the communities; they are known by the people, so we want to encourage people to speak out and report such individuals to the appropriate authorities,” Mr Addo said.
Other high profile personalities that attended the event include members of the Director General of the NSA, Prof. Peter Twumasi, Chairman of the African Games Local Organising Committee, Dr Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, the Osu Klottey Wulomo, Nuumo Noi Osikai III.
Prayers were said for the departed souls with five wreathes from the Government and People of Ghana, Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko, May 9 Foundation and the sports fraternity laid in their memory.
BY ANDREW NORTEY