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Stadia set for major overhaul

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 20- Security company G4S have made six core recommendations to enhance safety and security at stadia countrywide.

G4S managing director John Wheater, whose company was tasked with carrying out the security audit in the wake of the tragedy at Nyayo National Stadium last October said that his organization is keen on working with all stakeholders to ensure that the welfare of football fans is guaranteed.

“It is my hope that these recommendations are implemented and G4S looks forward to engaging with the government and the Kenya Premier League (KPL) to deliver the solutions required,” said Wheater on Thursday.

The report titled ‘Kenya Football Stadia Safety and Security Survey Interim Report’ calls for the appointment of a safety officer at each KPL match, construction of a control room and installation of a public address system.

Other recommendations include advance sales of tickets, stadia refurbishment and security training of match and club officials.

“The findings of this audit report will be studied carefully and where possible implementation will begin immediately,” said Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Dr. Paul Otuoma.

“We hope that by making the stadia safe, more fans will be encouraged to attend sports activities and other functions at the venues and even come along with their families due to enhanced safety,” he added.

Seven fans lost their lives and dozens were injured on October 23 last year at Nyayo after a stampede at one of the gates during the KPL match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia.

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Nyayo was one of the arenas where the audit was carried out alongside Moi International Sports Centre, City Stadium, Mombasa’s Moi Municipal Stadium, Thika Municipal Stadium and Hope Centre in Kawangware.

The voluminous report also outlines the problems facing each of the aforementioned grounds and remedies for each of them.

KPL vice chairman Ambrose Rachier said that with the increased interest in local football, fan safety can no longer be taken lightly.

“Spectator behaviour should cease being a problem at football matches.G4S and other experts can’t do much to pull us out of that problem. It is soccer lovers in this country who must face the problem squarely,” said Rachier who is also the chairman of Gor Mahia.

 

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