Football Must Distance Itself From Violence – Kwesi Nyantakyi

Ghana Football Association President Kwesi Nyantakyi calls for greater tolerance at league centres as he demands an end to fan violence.

Football witnessed a low in March of this year when referee Kwame Andoh-Kyei died a few days after being physically assaulted by spectators during a second division match in the Western Region of Ghana.

Nyantakyi who was in Takoradi on Wednesday to address some concerns within the Western Region Football Association, told a session which brought together executives and all Clubs in the region on the need for a collaboration between Clubs, supporters, security agencies and competition organizers to check acts of violence which tends to mar the game and affect lives and property.

“Let us work hand-in-hand to ensure safety at every centre in the country. Football is to be enjoyed and not divide people leading to destruction,” Nyantakyi said.

“Clubs need to work with all stakeholders. Let us not shield the culprits who through their irresponsible actions affect lives and run down on huge investments made by people and corporate bodies, that’s not fair-play. We must strive to ensure that the game is clean at all levels and be tolerant.

“The rule book does its part. There are hefty sanctions that go with crowd violence to deter a recurrence of such acts but can it bring back life or repair the scars of such attacks? I am yet to see one. We must have the courage to allow for the law to deal with such individuals at the Courts.”

On a day filled with emotion following his reunion with former Ex.Co member Lee Yankey, who has lost his sight, the GFA President expressed the need for the game to adhere the principles of fair-play.

He also expressed his sympathies to Lee Yankey, who contributed to the many successes chalked in Ghana football recently.

“It was a very a emotional moment for me when I met a very dignified personality in Lee Yankey. We both served on the Executive Committee and I have picked valuable lessons from his humility and his experience. It’s rather unfortunate that he’s lost his sight but we pray that he will continue to find the strength to carry on.”

Yankey was the immediate past Regional Football Association Chairman in the Western Region after serving one term on the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association.

With the influx of football betting in the country, Nyantakyi explained at a press conference that the GFA cannot stop such an industry but cautioned Clubs and players not to be used by betting syndicates to influence the outcome of matches.