Making Our Stadiums Safe, Biggest Tribute…To Pay May 9 Victims


Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kurt Okraku says making the various stadia safe is the best tribute the football family can offer May 9 victims.

He stated at the 23rd anniversary observance of the unfortunate incident in Accra yesterday that his outfit continues to strive to rid match centres of hooliganism.

To him, the sacrifice of the departed football fans will be meaningless if the GFA relent on ensuring the safety of patrons of stadiums in the country.

The GFA boss said, “For us, at the Ghana Football Association, this commemorative event serves as constant reminders that our continuing efforts to rid Ghana Football of hooliganism and make our stadiums safe is the biggest tribute we can pay to those who unfortunately died and those who were scarred by the events of May 9, 2001.

“Their sacrifice will be meaningless if we relent in this endeavour.

“Twenty-three years ago, on May 9, 2001, thousands of vibrant men and women converged at the Accra Stadium to witness the nation’s biggest local league fixture – Accra Hearts of Oak versus Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

“Twenty-three years ago, millions of football enthusiasts sat glued to their television sets watching in horror as barely a few minutes after that absorbing contest ended, news of rising deaths from a stampede at the stadium started filtering through.”

He added, “At last official count, 126 football fans were reported to have lost their lives in what came to be known as the May 9 Disaster.

“Year in, year out, the football fraternity and its friends huddle together to honour the memory of the dearly departed and to share strength with the families they left behind and those who sustained injuries on that dark day in Ghana’s football history.

“As we commemorate that day, our thoughts and prayers remain with all who were affected by the May 9 Disaster. We pray for continuing comfort for us all as we remain resolute in our faith in the Almighty.

“May the souls of our dearly departed brothers and sisters continue to rest in perfect peace.”

Over a decade ago, 126 football fans perished during a Hearts-Kotoko midweek game after a scuffle, which resulted in the police firing tear gas.

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum