Ghana’s PLB Chairman roots for training of sports journalists

Chairman of the Premier League Board, Welbeck Abra-Appiah, has underscored the need for the training of sports media personnel to ensure professionalism and fairness in their reportage.

Abra-Appiah said the utterances of some unprofessional or untrained media personnel who discuss match previews, commentaries and review matches, which usually lead to misbehaviour of fans thereby causing violence at the stadia.

Speaking at a symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of the May 9 Disaster on the topic, “the Role of Management, Club Chairmen, media and match officials in curbing violence during sports and football activities,” Abra-Appiah urged the media personnel to study the Laws of the game to prevent occasional attacks on referees, whilst recommending the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) for holding refresher and training programmes for media personnel.

“It will be appreciated if SWAG will assist in the education of the numerous commentators who style themselves as their members. As to whether they are members of the august body or not is another matter.”

On Club Managers and Administrators, he advised them to initiate radio and television programmes to educate supporters on the need not to resort to violence on and off the field.

The PLB Chairman particularly singled out the Chairmen of Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak for strategizing with their supporters’ groups to reduce violence that characterizes matches between the two clubs.

Abra-Appiah said the often holding of hands and show of friendship by the Chairmen of the two Clubs during matches sends a message of cordiality to the fans for them to desist from hostilities or violence.

The PLB Boss also underscored the role of more administrative offence resolutions and tougher fines to serve as deterrent for clubs and officials who engage in violence.

Abra-Appiah described the disciplinary procedures at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) as cumbersome and emphasized that instant punishment on supporters and club officials will serve as a protection for referees, who are mostly the victims of attack.

He also called for adequate security during matches and appealed to Government to enhance infrastructure at the various stadiums by providing at least the El-Wak Stadium-like venues across the country.

Group Captain Gyimah Kwakye, Head of Security at the National Sports Authority, on his part, also advised for a review of the categorization of matches to ensure adequate security at all venues.

He said the review was very important since it is not all matches that are susceptible to violence, and so adequate security will serve a preventable measure.

The climax of the celebrations under the theme, “Never Again”, will be a special friendly match between Hearts and Kotoko on Saturday, May 14 at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra.

Sponsors for the event include SIC Insurance Company, Nestle Ghana Limited, Healthy Life and Commercial Associates.

One hundred and twenty-six (126) fans died with several scores of supporters injured during a Premier League match between Hearts and Kotoko on May 9, 2001.

Source: GNA

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