Soccer News of Monday, 6 April 2009

Source: GNA

Five years ban for Kotoko's Chairman

Accra, April 6, GNA - The Chief Executive Officer of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Sporting Club, Sylvester Asare-Owusu has been banned from all football-related activities for the next five years for his involvement in the stadium disaster during the Week 9 Glo Premier League between his club and arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak.

Four persons lost their lives and over 400 persons sustained various degrees of injuries due to overcrowding at the 40,000-capacity stadium during the February 8 clash.

The Kotoko Chief Executive Officer had openly declared that he took monies from fans who scaled over the wall of the Baba Yara Stadium to watch the game.

After a critical review of the Five-member Committee's report, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, Minister of Youth and Sports said Government takes serious view of the conduct of the Asante Kotoko CEO in view of his position and the responsibility that comes with it. "Mr Asare-Owusu will be charged for stealing and prosecuted accordingly. In addition, the amount of 820 Ghana Cedis, which he declared to the public as the amount he collected at the stadium during the match will be retrieved and paid to Government chest. "Mr Sylvester Asare-Owusu is also banned from all football related activities in the country for the next five (5) years." The banning of Asare-Owusu and removal from office of the National Sports Council boss, Prince Ernest Oduro-Mensah has been described as the highest points of the Government's actions on the recommendations of the Committee.

The Regional Sports Development Officer, Mr S. Kofi Doku-Doudu and Deputy Accountant of the National Sports Council, Mr J.H. Arthur have also been asked to resign and proceed on leave respectively. Two Police Officers, Superintendent Antwi-Boasiako and DSP V.O. Abrokwa have also been penciled for interdiction from the Police Service.

The Minister said the Attorney General's office would be requested to determine appropriate compensation packages to the four bereaved families since the deaths of the fans occurred as a result of negligence of duty by security on duty at the stadium.

Alhaji Mubarak said part of the Committee's recommendation include the classification of matches in the country into three categories; A, B and C.

"Category A matches will involve matches involving national teams as well as the nation's most supported clubs Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak.

"Category B will involve matches involving Hearts or Kotoko against other clubs, while Category C is made-up of matches involving all other clubs."

The Minister of Youth and Sports pledged Government's commitment towards making the country's various stadia incident-free whilst urging the media and fans to expose practices by officials that may tend to cause recurrence of such unfortunate incidents in the country. Hearts beat Kotoko 2-1 in the said match. 06 April 09