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Guinea: Violence take center stage in stadium – At a glance

 

Over the past few seasons, scenes of violence have regularly been recorded in some of the country’s stadiums. Even journalists are not spared from verbal and physical aggression.

It’s February 29, 2024 at the Stade de la Mission in Conakry. AS Kaloum faces Flamme Olympique. In this League 1 encounter, there’s no winner (0-0). In a quiet afternoon, things are about to speed up.

Journalist roughed up

Journalists on the scene approached the two technicians to get their opinions on their team’s performance. With the AS Kaloum coach, everything went according to plan. As they approached the coach of Flamme Olympique, tensions rose. Ilyassou Sadio Diallo recounts his misadventure. “The coach was arguing with a youngster and even caught his collar, so I decided to film the scene. That’s all it took to irritate them. Three members of the technical staff pounced on me. They ripped off my wig, my earrings and even called me names,” explains the colleague. My colleague Thierno Abdoul, who came to intervene, was knocked to the ground and his recorder damaged.

Thierno Madio Tolo was also beaten up and his tripod damaged. After the argument, being the only girl in the group, they wanted to physically attack me while threatening to destroy my working equipment (camera, microphone, computer, etc.).

The assault lasted several minutes. Journalists saw their work equipment damaged. Thierno Abdoul Barry is one of them. “We’ve already written to the Guinean professional soccer league to denounce this attack. If nothing is done, we’ll take the matter to the Kaloum court of first instance to lodge a complaint. Things like this must no longer be tolerated“, warns Thierno Abdoul Barry.

The Hafia FC-Horoya AC precedent

This cycle of violence is reminiscent of last season. On June 10, 2023, league leaders Hafia FC played host to runners-up Horoya AC. In an electric atmosphere, the leaders opened the scoring, only to see the defending champions pull level. The match referee handed out numerous cards to calm down the Horoya AC players and coaches, who were unhappy with the 3 minutes of additional time announced by the fourth referee. This was enough to set off a firestorm. In the confusion, the pitch was invaded by a crowd of supporters, prompting the referee to blow his whistle for the end of the match in the 91st minute.

Impotence of the Professional League

The Guinean Professional Football League (LGFP) is disappointed by the situation. Lucien Guilao is chairman of the league’s provisional committee. “It’s an unfortunate situation,” he begins. It has to be said that more than a week after the journalists were attacked, the situation has not changed. The assistant coach of Flamme Olympique, the offending club, went so far as to deny the attack. The investigations announced have been slow to reach a verdict. The League president tries to reassure. “We’ve seen it happen. Attacking journalists is something we deplore. They are stakeholders. We’re carrying out investigations, and at the end of these, sanctions will be taken,” he promises.

This upsurge in stadium violence is a cause for concern. Despite the sanctions taken against certain officials, the practice is still going on. While the architectural design of stadiums may be to blame in certain circumstances, the reasons may lie elsewhere. “The configuration of our stadiums doesn’t help. The stadiums are built in such a way that, at the slightest incident, there can be a crowd movement. Those who are not on the match sheet are forbidden to go down on the handrail. But some managers use their influence with security to get there. And that creates problems. Because the more people there are on the handrail, the more difficult it is to get them down there « says Lucien Guilao.

Physiotherapist sanctioned for two years after fight

While certain measures taken have dissuaded the protagonists from engaging in violent scenes, they have not held up over time, regrets the league president. “The league has sometimes issued threats before high-stakes matches. And this has sometimes borne fruit. But in the long term, it hasn’t lasted,” regrets this official. Two weeks ago in Kindia, a physiotherapist was sanctioned for two years after fighting on the pitch. But this sanction didn’t stop him from assaulting a referee in the stands the following match. It’s a shame”.

More than a week after the attack on journalists by members of the Flamme Olympique staff, the results of the investigation and possible sanctions are still awaited. Apart from a statement from the league a few hours after the attack, no action has been taken. It remains to be seen what will be the outcome of this affair, which is fuelling debate in the Guinean sporting world.

 

 

 

 


Written by admin