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Sports Ministry Writes To FIFA For Clarification of Security 'Guarantees' Ahead of Egypt Clash   
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Ghana’s Sports Ministry is demanding ‘further and better particulars’ from FIFA on why it sanctioned the second leg match of the World Cup playoff against Egypt to take place in Cairo.

The world football governing body declared the Egyptian capital safe to host the match on November 19 after reviewing a comprehensive security plan of the Egyptian authorities.

The Ghana FA has earlier written to FIFA requesting the game to be moved to a neutral grounds over security concerns due to ongoing political and civil unrest in Egypt.

But FIFA was convinced the earmarked Air Defence venue is safe to host the game and thus turned down Ghana’s plea.

The Sports Ministry is however demanding further clarification on the safety ‘guarantees’ made by the Egyptian authorities from FIFA.

The ministry in a letter sent to the world governing body say they are not challenging the decision but only want further clarification to help ease the lingering doubts onthe minds of many Ghanaians since the Black Stars and other Ghanaians are being sent into a volatile region.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports which is the supervisory body of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has taken note of FIFA’s decision to maintain Cairo as thevenue for the second leg World Cup play-off between Ghana and Egypt,” the letter signed by Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah read.

“Despite the genuine security concerns raised by the GFA, the Ministry of Youth and Sports respects the decision taken by FIFA to uphold Cairo as the venue for the return match between the two countries. We are not challenging this since FIFA has the sole authority and mandate to make such decisions.

“However, as a matter of grave concern, we are seeking better particulars for security guarantees for the Ghanaian players, technical team and supporters who will fly to Egypt for the match.

“Even though FIFA says its decision was based on guarantees received from the Government of Egypt and CAF’s decision to allow Al Ahly to play their Champions League match in Cairo, the ministry strongly feels that merely relying on those guarantees without the provision of security details does not help Ghanaians who have expressed numerous fears about the looming dangers in Egypt.

“When Egypt played Ghana in the first match, their players, technical team,media and teeming supporters had no safety or security issues as they moved about freely from the airport, hotels and stadium. There was not a single recorded case of intimidation, violence or injury to report.

“However, due to the highly volatile political situation in Egypt and the fact that the Military there is at war with suspected ”militants and extremists”, the Ministry of Youth and Sports feels that Ghanaians will not enjoy the same safety and spirit of fairplay accorded to the Egyptians when they came to Ghana for the first leg.

“We therefore wish to know the measures that have been put in place to contain the Egyptian soccer fans BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the return match in Cairo.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports also wants guarantees on actions that have been put in place by FIFA to contain the emotions of the Egyptian soccer fans in the aftermath of any result.

“These are genuine concerns in view of the daily attacks on Egyptian security personnel by angry youths, suspected political opponents of the military regime and suspected extremists which has led to hundreds of CIVILIAN and MILITARY deaths in recent weeks.

“Even though Ghana is ready and willing to play Egypt anywhere, the Ministry of Youth and Sports will like to know from FIFA who would be held liable, accountable and responsible in the unfortunate event of any Ghanaian being harmed before, during or after the match.

“In the true spirit of fair play which is at the core of the beautiful game by FIFA, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is urgently requesting FIFA to address these issues to allay the genuine security concerns by Ghana.

“The whole world including Ghana will like to know from FIFA what exact measures it has in place to ensure the security, comfort and safety of the Ghanaian players, technical team, media and supporters who will be in Cairo for the return match on November 19.

“Prevention is better than regret and the concerns being expressed by Ghana are not farfetched at all. Egypt has witnessed series of socially, politically and religiously motivated attacks, riots and deaths following the removal of President Morsi from power by the military.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports strongly feels that since the Ghana contingent will be the guests of the Egyptian (Military) government, their opponents may use the match to harm the state and in the process, exact collateral damage on whoever is caught up in any crossfire.”

The Sports Minister also requested a meeting with the FIFA boss to shed more insights on the issue.

“Finally Sir, against the background of unprecedented sympathy, solidarity, domestic and international concern, I humbly request a meeting with you at FIFA House in Zurich or any location of your choosing,” the letter continued.

“Respectfully, this must be as soon as possible bearing in mind that preparations by the players, technical team, media and supporters is hanging in the balance.

“Your acceptance to meet me would once again demonstrate your unquestionable commitment to fair play and the spirit of the beautiful game. that has made players like Kevin Prince Boateng, Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari global household names.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports is optimistic that the right review will be done to protect players, officials, supporters and the media for the good of the game.

Ghana take a commanding 6-1 advantage to the second leg game against the record African Cup winners who are maintaining faint hopes of qualifying to their first World Cup finals since 1990.
Source: Ghanasoccernet.com

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