The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, says his outfit is considering the closure of the Accra Sports Stadium to avert the loss of lives at the facility.
The Minister said. the nation’s premier stadium was “a potential death trap” which was in a far worse state than it appears.
The facility is currently in a deplorable state and is set to undergo renovation works in June after nine years of neglect since its construction.
Speaking yesterday at the 16th anniversary memorial of the May 9 Stadium Disaster at the Accra Sports Stadium, the minister said he had come across two reports from Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) during his short stint at the ministry which advised that the facility be closed down to avoid another disaster which will result in the loss of lives.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as we reflect over the May 9 disaster and resolve never to see a repeat of it. The Ministry is considering a possible closure of the Accra Sports Stadium for long overdue maintenance works.
“The stadium has been neglected for almost nine years without any maintenance, so we are considering a possible closure of this facility to ensure that we will do proper maintenance works to protect lives and property which is very important,” Mr Asiamah said.
“This is as a result of information that has come to us that the stadium is a potential death trap. The information indicated that in the year 2013, the AESL carried out structural integrity audits on the facility and estimated costs and recommended specific recommendation works but this was not done.
“Again in 2015, AESL conducted another structural integrity audit of the national stadium and painted a picture of a worsening situation and recommended that an immediate closure should be considered but this was ignored till I toured the facility a couple of months ago,” the minister said while waving a copy of the report.
“So, the ministry will have no other option than to close the stadium for maintenance works to begin”.
The Minister added that his outfit was committed to ensuring that the loss of 127 lives 16 years ago on May 9, 2001, after Accra Hearts of Oak defeated Kumasi Asante Kotoko 2-1 will never be repeated.
When probed further by the Graphic Sports about timelines for the closure, Mr Asiamah explained that the Ministry was on the look-out for alternative venues to host events away from the Accra Stadium before the facility would be closed for renovation works.
A wreath-laying ceremony was later held at the forecourt of the Accra Stadium with the minister as well as representatives of Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko and the bereaved families of the May 9 disaster laying wreaths in honour of the departed.