The GFA Disciplinary Committee has dismissed charges against Berekum Arsenals in relation to their GN Bank Division One League match played at the Golden City Park.
Berekum Arsenal was charged for failing to control the club’s supporters during recess when they allegedly harassed the referees in violation of Articles 56, 66(1) and 66(3) of the Disciplinary Code of the Ghana Football Association.
DEFENCE Berekum Arsenal FC in its Statement of Defence signed by the club’s Assistant Secretary, Ansu-Damoah Kofi pleaded not guilty to the charge, waived the club’s rights to personal hearing and submitted a written Statement of Defence to defend the charge against the club.
PROCEEDINGS AND FINDINGS The Committee examined the depositions in the Charge Sheet, the written Statement of Defence, and the reports of the match officials of the said match.
In its written Statement of Defence, Berekum Arsenal FC explained that its supporters did not harass the match officials and that the club rather joined hands with the security personnel present on the day and ensured that the officials were escorted to the dressing room safely.
The relevant provisions on ensuring the safety of match officials and all other stakeholders of the game are very clear and unambiguous. These include Articles 10 of the Division One League special Regulations and Articles 66 of the Disciplinary Code.
Clubs must also not lose sight of Article 35(2) of the General Regulations of the GFA which provides that: Article 35(2) “Misconduct towards a match official away from the field of play where that misconduct can be related or traced to a match shall be dealt with as if it has been committed on the field of play”.
In respect of the charges against supporters, clubs must also be 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”.
In the instance case however, the referee who was supposed to have been harassed did not report any incidents in his report. Nevertheless, the Committee holds that it will side with the presumption under Article 85 of the Disciplinary Code on the facts stated in the match reports on this matter to wit: for fact outside the field of play the match commissioner’s report must be presumed to be true.
However, in the particular instance, once of the victims, being the match referee, clearly did not feel harassed to report any harassment in his report, it is difficult for the Committee to see how the Match Commissioner could force the feeling of harassment on him.
The Disciplinary Committee is therefore satisfied with the evidence before it that the conduct of the supporters did not amounted to misconduct and does not breach of the GFA Regulations.
The Disciplinary Committee makes the following decisions:
1. That the Committee having satisfied itself that the evidence adduced before it does not supports the charge of misconduct against the supporters of Berekum Arsenals FC, hereby dismisses the charge against Berekum Arsenal FC.
2. 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).