East End Lions Football Club has unreservedly and unequivocally condemned the act of alleged vandalisation that took place at the Southern Arena Stadium on Saturday, 27th May, 2023, during its match against Bo Rangers.
Head of Media and Communications at East End Lions Football Club, Alhassan Idris Bangura said: “We firmly believe that there is no place for violence and vandalization in football. We have been made aware of allegations suggesting that one of our passionate fans, who was understandably disappointed with the score and delay tactics employed by the Bo Rangers players, may have caused damage to a seat in the Stadium.
“If these allegations are substantiated following a thorough independent and impartial investigation, East End Lions FC will take full responsibility for the actions of our supporter and promptly reimburse the management of the Southern Arena accordingly.
“It is crucial to note that tickets designated for the section of the stadium reserved for East End Lions fans were deliberately sold to Bo Rangers supporters.
“Consequently, these fans were seated among East End Lions fans, engaging in continuous provocation and taunting directed towards our supporters, creating a tense and hostile atmosphere.
“The management of the stadium must assume full responsibility and take immediate measures to better manage opposing fans in the future. We express deep concern regarding the selective release of videos by the management of the stadium and Bo Rangers, focusing solely on events that aim to portray our club in a negative light.
“We strongly urge the management of the stadium and Bo Rangers to uphold principles of fairness and transparency by releasing the complete, unedited footage of the incident. This will enable a comprehensive understanding of the events that transpired and prevent any potential misrepresentation.
“If the full, unedited video is released, we firmly believe it will show that regrettably, in the 84th minute of the match, home team supporters began pelting plastic bottles towards our reserve bench, resulting in an unacceptable incident that marred the integrity of the match. Play had to be stopped for a significant amount of time to ensure the safety of all individuals present. “Furthermore, we would like to address the issue of media coverage at the stadium. It is regrettable that the management of the stadium prevented our media teams from recording or covering the events, stating that only their media team was allowed to cover the match.
“We firmly believe in an inclusive approach to media coverage, promoting openness and transparency for the benefit of all stakeholders involved. The accusations of vandalizing the away dressing room are baseless and unfounded, serving as a deliberate ploy to tarnish the image of our club.
“While it is true that our players may have left behind empty water sachets and refreshment packaging in the dressing room, this is a common occurrence in dressing rooms worldwide. There was no malicious intent, and it is the responsibility of the stadium management to ensure cleanliness and maintenance.
“In addition, East End Lions FC strongly maintains that the use of CCTV cameras in opposing team’s dressing rooms during soccer matches is highly unethical and illegal. We emphasise the utmost importance of respecting the privacy and security of all individuals. Monitoring or recording activities in private areas, such as dressing rooms, without proper consent, is a violation of privacy laws and regulations in numerous countries.
“We implore all football clubs and authorities to uphold these principles and protect the rights of athletes. It is worth noting that just last week, our management congratulated Mr. Babadi Kamara, the management and Bo Rangers on the opening of the new arena. Our club joined others in celebrating the event, and we emerged victorious in the tournament held to mark the occasion.
“We want to assure everyone that we will not condone any attempt to vandalize the Arena or any other facility in our country. East End Lions FC’s foremost priority is to promote fair play, respect, and a safe environment for all participants involved in football. We remain fully committed to upholding the values of sportsmanship both on and off the field. We strongly encourage supporters from all teams to consistently demonstrate respectful and positive behavior, fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie and passion for the sport.
“For our part, we continue to work on our supporters to ensure that this objective is achieved. As a club, East End Lions FC will continue to work diligently with relevant authorities and stakeholders to address the concerns raised and implement robust measures to prevent incidents of this nature in the future. We stand united in our commitment to maintaining the integrity and spirit of the beautiful game”.