The Security Committee of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), chaired by Samuel Karn and Victor Gboyah, has set up new security measures which would be instituted during the 2017 AFCON qualifiers between the Lone Star and the Tunisia on Saturday, September 5, at the ATS.
Amongst the measures, the LFA says no journalist without the ID card and Pass of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) would be allowed on the field.
The President of SWAL, Roland Mulbah in a joint press conference with the LFA’s security committee yesterday, stated that all members of SWAL should regularize their membership (U$20) before given ID card or pass.
However, some SWAL members, including Martina Brooks (UNMIL Radio), Trojan Kiazolu (Fabric Radio) and Sylvester Worwie (Focus Newspaper), said the decision for the payment of the U$20 is untimely and therefore urged SWAL to rethink her decision to avoid many sports journalists boycotting the game.
Former SWAL vice president Lewis Konoe (Power FM), Varmah Kamara (Truth FM), Sally Gaye (New Dawn Newspaper), and Christopher Walker (SKY FM) said “SWAL’s decision is not only harsh but dictatorial, because the membership was not consulted.”
“We have resolved to boycott the game if SWAL does not take into consideration the timeframe of the payment of the US$20,” Kiazolu said. “How about those who are sports journalists and are not members of SWAL?”
Most of the members of SWAL have given the leadership 72 hours to reconsider the prerequisite of getting the SWAL’s pass or would boycott the game.
Sports journalists urged the security committee to instruct the officers to turn their back on the field and watch the spectators, as it is internationally done.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karn and Gboyah said as part of the measures, no vehicle will be allowed to enter the stadium or in the field except pass or VIP and no security personnel who is not assigned on the field would be allowed except with a pass or ticket.
“No vehicle and unauthorized officials will be allowed around the perimeter of the field and all vehicle regulations will be carried out by the LNP,” Mr. Karn said.
“Only Police Support Unit officers with tags will be allowed in and around the perimeter of the field; no ticket will be sold on the day of the game and all radio stations wishing to air the game are requested to arrive at the stadium by 10:00am,” he said.
Mr. Gboyah said: “Anyone violating these rules and regulations would be dealt with in accordance with the law.” Liberia has been punished twice for unrelenting misconducts of football fans. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee did the latest decision on July 24, 2013, relating to crowd violence during the match Liberia versus Senegal on June 16.
The LFA was ordered to pay CHF 20,000 (US$21,360.00) in application of Article 66 paragraph 1 and Article 67 paragraph 1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
The LFA was also mandated to bear the cost of the proceedings at CHF 2,000 (US$2140.00).
It may also be recalled that the Confederation of African Football, last year fined Liberia U$5,000 over crowd violence during the 2-2 draw between Liberia and Nigeria at the SKD in the qualifiers of the 2013 Africa Nations Cup.
Liberia was also warned a few months ago when a spectator ran on the playing pitch after Anthony Lafor’s strike against Uganda in Monrovia, a world cup qualifying match Liberia won 2-0.