The GFA Disciplinary Committee has fined Kpando Heart of Lions an amount of GH˘1000.00 and banned the club from playing one(1) home match at the Kpando Park.
Hearts of Lions FC was charged with three (3) counts as per the Charge Sheet in respect of the First Capital Plus Premier League match between Heart of Lions FC and Bechem United FC played on 17th June, 2015.
On the first count, Heart of Lions FC was charged for failing to control the club’s supporters, around the 85th minute of the match, when the supporters threw stones at Assistant Referee Two, James Osarfo with one of the stones hitting him which resulted in about one minute hold up of play in violation of Articles 35(1)(a) and 35(1)(b) the GFA General Regulations.
On the second count, Heart of Lions FC was charged for failing to control the club’s supporters when they threw objects after the final whistle of the match at the match officials while they were moving to the dressing which resulted in a stone scratching the thumb of Assistant Referee One Ben Vormawor in violation of Articles 35(1)(a) and 35(1)(b) of the GFA General Regulations.
On the third and final count, Heart of Lions FC was charged for failing to control the club’s supporters when they prevented the away team from leaving the stadium and also held the match officials hostage in the dressing room for about forty-five (45) minutes until the police personnel called in re-enforcement in violation of Article 58 of the Disciplinary Code and Article 35(1)(a) and 35(3)(c) of the GFA General Regulations.
Heart of Lions FC in its Statement of Defence, signed by the club’s President, Mr. Randy Abbey, pleaded guilty to the charges.
PROCEEDINGS AND FINDINGS
The Committee examined the depositions in the Charge Sheet, the Statement of Defence, the reports of the match officials and the official video of the said match.
In its Statement of Defence, Heart of Lions FC stated on Count One as follows:
“We wish, first and foremost, to make a clear admission that there were a few supporters behind Assistant Referee 2 who were rude to him, through gestures and the yelling when they thought a bad call had been taken against us”.
“However, we deny that any stones were thrown to hit him as reported. We, at Hearts of Lions FC, pride ourselves as regulation abiding supporters of the game as a previous winner of the PLB Best Behaved Centre and immediately the club officials went to the spot and dealt with the issues to give the assistant his peace of mind to continue with the match. The swiftness with which team officials got to the area bears testimony to our resolve to obey the regulations of the GFA. We, however, wish to render apologies, on behalf of the few fans for their behaviour, which club officials curbed within a minute as expected of all clubs and members of the GFA”.
In response, to Count Two, the Statement of Defence of Heart of Lions FC stated as follows:
“We wish to state clearly that it can never be true that our supporters RUSHED on the Match Officials after the match. How can that be possible in the inner perimeter. The truth is that a few supporters close to the dressing room hooted and yelled at the match officials when they were going to the dressing room for which we apologized to the match officials. Our position is that our supporters should have held their emotions in check even in the difficult situation. They did not however throw stones at the match officials”.
The Committee takes notice of the partial admission of the charge but also finds that the behaviour of the supporters of Heart of Lions FC has no place under the regulations for the game.
Article 35(3)(b) sanctions this behaviour by the application of the fines provided for under Article 35(5)(a) of the GFA General Regulations.
Article 35(3)(a) The sprinkling of water, powder or other concoctions in liquid or solid form in or around the field of play, including the dressing room, is forbidden and shall be punishable by a fine of Gh˘500.00, Gh˘250.00 and Gh˘125.00 for Premier, First and Lower Division Clubs respectively.
Article 35(3)(b) Throwing of sachet water, plastic bottles and other object onto the field of play shall attract the sanctions in paragraph 3(a) above.
The Committee also takes judicial notice of the club’s apologies on their version of the facts.
In response, to Count Three, the Statement of Defence of Heart of Lions FC stated as follows:
“We are shocked at this particular charge. We say this because at no time did the Match Officials say they wanted to leave the dressing room area and they were prevented from leaving. In fact, they took time to change over and chatted with each other and all of us. Upon their request, our PLB Representative, Mr. Enoch Laryea, called a taxi car for them and they sat in the dressing room to wait for the arrival for the taxi car. More importantly, how will the match referees (from the dressing room) know that Bechem United bus was held hostage and by whom. … At no point in time did any player, officials or the bus of Bechem United require any Police escort at the match”.
The defence continued that:
“it was rather the match commissioner who caused confusion on the day by boarding the Bechem United bus after the match which prompted a request from a few of the supporters to see him off the bus.
The question we wish the Disciplinary Committee will ask the Match Commissioner is that if indeed his report is anything to go by, WHY would he, who claimed to be have been held hostage for 45 minutes (which is not true off course) walk alone for about 150 meters through the same “irate stone throwing supporters who wish to kill him” to the Bechem United team bus. This resulted in the Police actually going onto the bus to virtually beg the Match Commissioner to alight because of the confusion his boarding the bus had was causing. Immediately, the Police brought the Match Commissioner out of the bus, the supporters clapped and that was it. The Police then escorted the Match Commissioner out of the Stadium”.
The Committee had the privilege of considering all the information concerning this match. The Committee finds that the Match Commissioner boarded the Bechem United team bus. This action, which was not captured on any of the match reports, actually aggravated the situation.
The action of the Match Commissioner per his own narrative of the situation could have spelled doom for the away team who had nothing to do with the incident.
The action of the Match Commissioner not notwithstanding, the conduct supporters of Heart of Lions shall not be entertained by this Committee. The nature of the conduct of the supporters of Hearts of Lions FC is prohibited by the Regulations and shall accordingly attract the necessary sanction.
In this respect, the Committee was also mindful of Article 35(4) which states that:
“The Association shall hold clubs responsible for the misconduct of their supporters before, during and after a match”.
It is worth restating, once again, that there are structures within the Ghana Football Association which deal with complaints against any alleged mishandling of a match by a match official (may send a Complaint to the Match Review Committee established under Article 59(3) of the GFA Statutes) or a misconduct of a match official (may send a Complaint to the GFA Prosecutor appointed under Article 39 of the GFA Statutes Referees or to the Referee Committee under Article 64 which has the duty to recommend the suspension or removal from the referees list referees found to be incompetent or guilty of serious misconduct per Article 64(6) of the GFA Statutes).
QUALITY AND ACCURACY OF MATCH REPORTS
The Committee had cause in the past to call on Match Commissioners and Referees to submit quality and accurate Match Reports to aid the work of the Disciplinary Committee as well as other Committees of the GFA.
The Committee wishes to repeat the call in the light of the omissions in the Match Commissioner’s Report in respect of this matter.
The Committee wishes to also strongly caution match officials to desist from boarding and/or travelling in team buses due to the negative suspicions and the wrong signals it sends to the supporters.
The Disciplinary Committee makes the following decisions:
1. That the Committee having satisfied itself that the evidence adduced before it supports the charge of misconduct against the supporters of Heart of Lions, hereby imposes a fine of One Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH˘1,000.00) on Hearts of Lions FC in accordance with Article 39(1)(b) of the GFA General Regulations.
2. That the fines mentioned in Decision 1 above, shall be paid to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which Heart of Lions 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 the Committee having considered that this is the first time Hearts of Lions FC has failed to control their supporters at their home ground, the Committee hereby ban the club from playing one (1) home match at the venue and the Premier League Board shall decide where the club shall play the home fixture for the home match for which the club is banned.
4. In this respect, the temporary home ban imposed on the club from playing at home at the Kpando Park by the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association is hereby lifted after the club’s fulfilment of the one (1) match home ban at Len Clay Sports Stadium on Sunday, June 28, 2015.
5. That Heart of Lions FC and its supporters are hereby warned to be of good behaviour and that should the club be found guilty of any misconduct charges during this football season, the Committee shall apply the maximum sanctions against the club.
6. 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).
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|