Footballs must be civil at the stadium.

Anti-violence crusade…

Jerome Otchere

Posted on: Wed Aug 31, 2016

It’s not for nothing that in the past two weeks, management’s corner, published every Friday in this paper has focused on hooliganism. I’m not part of management but reading the two articles, the second part of which was published last Friday, it’s been easy to observe management’s abhorrence for acts that bring the name and image of the game into shame. 

How ironic that at a time when management has been preaching peace and also condemning hooliganism with vehemence, some supporters, obviously disappointed with refereeing decisions have been showing their frustration and anger in a rather unacceptable way. 

Prior to the acts that characterised the aftermath of the Kotoko-Aduana Stars match, some disgruntled supporters harassed journalists at the Baba Yara Stadium, apparently for expressing a divergent view on a decision by the referee in the Kotoko-Dreams FC match. 

Management issued a press release to condemn the attack on the journalists and there were media reports indicating that, the fans who allegedly attacked the journalists have been arrested by the Kumasi Police. It’s difficult talking about a wrongdoing doing when friends or relatives are involved yet it’s important we remind ourselves that, life is precious and state property should be protected. 

No decent, civilised society endorses violence. Like management reiterated in their article, football can’t thrive on violence. Football is to entertain us and while we derive fun from it, we shouldn’t forget that, football has also become big business and that hooliganism has the potential of killing both the fun and business that football offers people. 

Through football, thousands of young men and women who would have hopelessly been on the streets, have been employed even if their wages or salaries are not all that satisfactory. Our Premier League, for example, has 16 teams competing. By the Ghana Football Association (GFA)’s directive, each of the 16 clubs register 30 players. 

That gives us 480 active young men training and playing more than nine months every year. Do we know what would have happened to these young men if there was no football in Ghana? Each of the 16 teams also have coaches and technical assistants – undertaking auxiliary assignments. The teams, in addition, have people at their secretariats; drivers, security men and many other people tasked with jobs that, no matter how meagre their salaries are, they go home with something that supports their lives one way or the other. 

This is why anything that has the capacity to destroy football like violence shouldn’t be entertained. We should at all times resist the temptation to express our displeasure violently. Violence never pays. Where violence lives, there’s always harm and destruction. 

While preaching against violence, it’s necessary that, refereeing issues are as well given attention. Cheating, unfairness and injustice breed violence in any human environment. Where and when people feel cheated, they are bound to show their dissatisfaction in any means possible particularly when they lack the power to take on authority the appropriate way. 

We shouldn’t forget that, not all of us would react gently in the face of provocation. Referees have a duty to be fair. It hurts when teams prepare with hopes of winning only to lose not as a result of bad performance but a referee's ill-judgement. 

Some referees are highly unprofessional. I’m often left to wonder if they purposely underperform or that, they are just incompetent. I will refrain from mentioning names but most of our referees seriously need to be professional. I have seen Kotoko supporters applauding referees and damning their players even in times of defeat; that’s to tell you that, football fans just don’t wake up to show their frustration and anger at referees. 

Kotoko have lost matches at home his season yet there were no acts of hooliganism. I charge every Kotoko supporter to shun violence; please resist the temptation to be violent. Encourage others to be of good behaviour at the stadium or any other public place. Let’s all play our role effectively to derive the best from football. Let’s not take the law into our own hands. Let’s be law-abiding people; let’s stay away from violence at the stadium. Let’s cheer our team and enjoy the game. 

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