Former Ghana international, Augustine Arhinful, is blaming poor officiating and the negative mindset of football administrators for the lack of patronage of the betPawa Ghana Premier League matches.
Attendance to football matches across the country has been poor in recent times, with some premier league venues, including the Baba Yara Stadium ad Accra Sports Stadium consistently recording less than 5,000 fans during league matches.
The situation is so bad that when the country’s two biggest clubs, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, recently played in the President’s Cup, organizers of the game had to open free gates to attract fans to the stadium.
Concerns have been raised by stakeholders resulting in some discussions to remedy the situation.
Many factors have been identified as contributing to the present low levels of patronage, including the lack of star players, low levels of remuneration, poor infrastructure, low levels of sponsorships and poor officiating.
Contributing to the subject on Kickoff on Luv Fm, the former Black Stars striker, Arhinful, identified two major factors: negative attitude of club administrators and poor officiating as the cause for the lack of patronage to football matches lately.
“For me, I think that refereeing has been our biggest problem, and the mindset of the people at the helm of football should also be looked at. You always hear that people are planning for this team to go on relegation, that team has to be promoted and all these things become speculative and it festers into the football public. So I’m going to the stadium and I know that this team is going to win, what will push me to go?” he quizzed.
The former AshantiGold forward made further revelations about how club officials and executives plan to manipulate and play matches of convenience which he says works negatively towards patronage to matches.
“I have a colleague who recently resigned from a club and the story he told me was pathetic. He said some teams are able to say that when you are going to this guy’s home grounds he has to win and when they’re also coming to our home grounds we have to win and it’s ongoing. How then do you expect people to go to the stadium he questioned?”
Augustine Arhinful also took a swipe at referees for their poor judgment which has resulted in the lack of confidence in their work.
“The referees are also not doing enough. I don’t support Kumasi Asante Kotoko, neither do I support Hearts of Oak but I am a Ghanaian so I am for all of them but last Sunday at the Accra Sports stadium I think that if the referee at the centre of the field did not see that the goal scored by Hearts was an offside the linesman should have helped the referee. What was he watching? Why did he not flag?” Arhinful questions. “Put that one aside, Konadu Yiadom’s tackle on the Asante Kotoko striker should have been a second yellow card for him to be sent off. But why did he not do that? All these things are factors that will affect whether people will want to come to the stadium or not.”