Today marks exactly a decade since the country suffered its worst football stadium tragedy.

As the years roll by, the Ghana Football Association and the entire nation move on steadily by offering prayers for the departed fans and support to the affected families while trying to erase the scars of the tragedy.

The football family is remembering this day on the quiet with the call on all to be guided by the unfortunate past event.

“As the organizers of the premiership therefore, each match in every season becomes a security alert in the effort to avoid the repetition of such tragedies.

“We need to remind all and sundry that a stadium is constructed essentially to provide for us, a sports to admire and a passion to enjoy. It must never be turned into a fertile arena for violence, or warfare where mayhem is unleashed out of the irate supporters. These supporters move into action in total ignorance of the laws of the game, physically stampeding human beings to loose their lives, much to the shame and scandal of Association Football,” read an FA statement.

“Let us therefore embrace the spirit of tolerance which is called for and a teamwork approach which the game demands. We must endeavour to forge ahead in unity with the understanding that all of us play our part diligently to nip in the bud, all the ugly incidences of rowdyism that mar our pastime and deprive us of our enjoyment.”

On 9 May 2001, 126 supporters lost their lives on a Wednesday evening while attending a league match between rivals, Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko at the Accra Sports Stadium in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

The loss of lives saw Ghana and the Accra sports stadium record Africa’s worst football tragedy on the 9th of May.

Police officers fired tear gas into the stand in their efforts to control rioting Kotoko fans after Hearts overturned a one-goal deficit to win by 2-1.

The reaction by the police ended the lives of 126 fans who were crashed to death in a stampede while attempting to escape.

GFA Statement: LEST WE FORGET, MAY 9 TRAGEDY REMEMBERED

It is exactly ten (10) years since 126 lives were lost following the violence at the Accra Sports Stadium, renamed Ohene Djan Stadium, after a league match between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, which took place on Wednesday, May 9, 2001.

Ten (10) years may seem a long time but the pain is still felt by the GFA and the PLB especially when another incident occurred in the 2008/09 season just a couple of years ago, claiming the lives of four (4) persons at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi to deepen the pain.

GFA/PLB regret to observe that violence is still the dominant negative factor that ruins the sanctity of the League, strips it of its beauty, kills the interest of spectators and robs it of income, since the first incidence of violence, taking away the lives of some fifteen (15) soccer fans at the Kumasi Sports Stadium, stamped a permanent scar on the face of our League on May, 1978.

As the organizers of the premiership therefore, each match in every season becomes a security alert in the effort to avoid the repetition of such tragedies.

We need to remind all and sundry that a stadium is constructed essentially to provide for us, a sports to admire and a passion to enjoy. It must never be turned into a fertile arena for violence, or warfare where mayhem is unleashed out of the irate supporters. These supporters move into action in total ignorance of the laws of the game, physically stampeding human beings to loose their lives, much to the shame and scandal of Association Football.

Let us therefore embrace the spirit of tolerance which is called for and a teamwork approach which the game demands. We must endeavour to forge ahead in unity with the understanding that all of us play our part diligently to nip in the bud, all the ugly incidences of rowdyism that mar our pastime and deprive us of our enjoyment.

Fortunately, it is not difficult to identify some of the causes that trigger off the violence.

Uninformed radio discourses, tag along with phone-ins, spewing out misinformation, on one hand and on the other, pre-conceived mind-set about bias officiating by match officials whom they hold in contempt, are traceable to unruly behavioural patterns at our matches.

It is the hope of the GFA/PLB that the memory of the departed would always remind us to make it our collective duty to free our football from the clutches of tragedy such as the unforgettable event of May 9, 2001.

Today, at this time of remembrance, the GFA/PLB Commiserate with the bereaved families, share their grief and pray for solace that comes only from Providence to console theme.

Source: Ghanafa.org

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