Unity FC fined GH¢1,000 for offensive behavior of fans at Division One match

Unity FC have been fined GH¢1,000 in respect of the GN Bank Division One League match against Guan United at the Goaso park on March 4, 2015.

Unity FC was charged for the offensive behaviour of its supporters in throwing stones and other missiles onto the field of play in the 89th minute of the match in in violation of Articles 56, 66(1) and 66(3) of the GFA Disciplinary Code.

In the second count, Unity FC was charged for the offensive behaviour of its supporters for charging on the match officials after the final whistle compelling them to remain on the field of play for about an hour and half in respect of the said match in violation of Article 35(1)(b), 35(2) and 35(3)(c) of the GFA General Regulations.

DEFENCE
Unity FC in its Statement of Defence dated March 23, 2015 and signed by Edmund Darko for the Chairman and C.E.O , the club admitted that “few sachets of cold water were thrown onto the field when play was held up, no stones and missiles were thrown as alleged”.

The defence also admitted that the referees were kept on the field. It was however, explained that the officials were kept on the field “by the security officers to ensure their safety because of the unfair officiating they had subjected the home team to”.

The Statement of Defence finally stated that “we are very much regretting the incidence and ask for leniency”.

PROCEEDINGS
The Committee examined the depositions in the Charge Sheet, the Statement of Defence and the reports of the match officials of the said match.

The relevant provisions on this matter are very clear and unambiguous.

Articles 56, 66(1) and 66(3) of the Disciplinary Code state as follow:

Article 56 “Any player, team or match official who insults another in any way, especially by using offensive gestures or language, or who violates the principles of fair play or whose behaviour is unsporting in any other way may be subject to sanctions in accordance with Art. 10”.

Article 66(1) “The home team or home club is liable for improper conduct among spectators, regardless of the question of culpable conduct or culpable oversight, and, depending on the situation, may be fined. Further sanctions may be imposed in the case of serious disturbances”.

Article 66(3) “Improper conduct includes violence towards persons or objects, letting off incendiary devices, throwing missiles, including displaying insulting or political sloganism any form, uttering insulting words or sounds, or invading the pitch”.

The Committee took notice of the partial admission of the charge by Unity FC. The conduct of the supporters of Unity FC is prohibited by the regulations of the GFA and shall attract the necessary sanctions accordingly.

Again, it was also clear that the behaviour of the supporters towards the referees after the match prompted the action of security personnel. This caused the wait in the stadium by the match officials.

The Committee was also mindful of Article 35(4) which states that:

Article 35(4) “The Association shall hold clubs responsible for the misconduct of their supporters before, during and after a match”.

The Disciplinary Committee was satisfied that the conduct of the supporters amounted to misconduct and a breach of regulations of the GFA and shall accordingly apply the necessary sanction against Unity FC in this respect.

It is worth stating once again that there are structures within Ghana football to deal with complaints against any alleged mishandling of a match by a match official (Match Review Panel) or a misconduct of a match official (Complaint to the GFA Prosecutor or the Referee’s Committee).

DECISIONS
The Disciplinary Committee makes the following decisions:

1. That the Committee having satisfied itself that the evidence adduced before it supports the two counts of misconduct charges against the supporters of Unity FC with respect to the charges against the club, the Committee hereby imposes a fine of One Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,000) against the club in accordance with Article 39(1)(b) of the GFA General Regulations and Articles 10 and 15 of the Disciplinary Code.

2. That the fine mentioned in Decision 1 above, shall be paid to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which Unity FC shall automatically forfeit all subsequent matches after the said deadline in accordance with Article 15(b) of the GFA Disciplinary Code and Article 39(8)(b) of the First Amendment to the GFA General Regulations.

3. That Unity FC is hereby warned to be of good behaviour and that should Unity FC be found of any misconduct charges during this football season, the Committee shall applied the maximum sanctions against the club.

4. That should any party be dissatisfied with or aggrieved by this Decision the party has within three (3) days of being notified of this Ruling to appeal to the Appeals Committee (See Article 37(11) of the General Regulations of the GFA).


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