In a tough Addis Ababa derby Saint George will take on arch rivals Coffee today, Tuesday, at the Addis Ababa stadium. The two teams clash was scheduled to take place on Sunday but it was postponed for Tuesday.
It is natural to say that the clash between the two giants has the power to attract huge crowed at the stadium at any time they play even when they have friendly or fund raising matches.
Very many people were prepared to watch the season's tough Addis Derby on Sunday. For this the supporters of the two sides had meeting on Thursday at the Ethiopian hotel to discuss issues of fair-play and crowed disturbance.
At this time the rate of crowed disturbance increased to the level unseen in the past. When the two teams met in the final of the Addis Ababa city Cup the fans of the two teams clashed that eventually led to harm many people and damage property.
That kind of fierce fighting was little expected prior to the game considering it was the warm up play before the start of the season's competition.
Though it is widely known that the rivalry of the two teams is a constant worry for the sports community, but damaging crowed disturbance in that kind of fund raising final was little expected.
Year's back similar ridiculous disturbance occurred between the two fans. At that time St. George had confirmed that they won the season's trophy four or five matches ahead the end of the game. Coffee stood far behind in the table. That match was simply a formality. It was to conclude the season's program. Considering this the cause for the eruption of crowed disturbance in these two incidents was absurd.
The country's football governing body, the Ethiopian Football Federation, EFF, time and again said that they will take strict and painful act if clubs, fans, officials violate the rule and regulation. The EFF further said that actions will include suspension and even point reduction.
There were series of meetings regarding this with club officials and stakeholders. The discussion was expected to bear fruit but as it is seen it didn't live up to expectations.
Fair-play is the main motto for the world football governing body, FIFA. The body every time shows the banner of fair-play ahead of the international matches. Statistical data's show that violence has been on the decline in Europe and elsewhere in the world but still crowed violence is on the rise during international matches.
FIFA has the fear that football hooliganism will be one major problem in the 2018 Russia World Cup.
In Contrast to this the Russian Federation vows to control crowed violence before and during the World Cup. FIFA seems satisfied by what Russia had shown during the June 2017 Confederation Cup. It was peaceful and inviting. The international body thanked the Russians and the game's organizing body and told them to do in a much stronger way during the coming World Cup.
Giving high priority for security and safety is very much commendable on the part of EFF but the problem is the inability to strictly implement what is agreed upon during meetings.
The FIFA regulation states that the stadium standing must properly be divided in such a way that two opposing fans are separated by iron fence. In Ethiopia most arenas don't have such separation. FIFA also recommends the pitch and the seat of the stadium must be separated by iron fence. In Ethiopia there are arenas which contradict this directive. All arenas in Ethiopia don't have security cameras to identify those engaged in disturbance. The camera cost is not that huge but invariably all football officials in Ethiopia failed to fix Security Camera even at the Addis Ababa stadium.
When they are asked about the camera, they usually evade questions. One basic problem for this is the negligence of officials.
What the fans of St. George and Coffee did on Thursday was indeed praiseworthy. The fans of both sides sat down together to resolve this ridiculous crowed disturbance by controlling themselves. People hope the today St George and Coffee play will come to a conclusion respecting the far-play rule.
Meanwhile, the sixth week of the Ethiopian Premier League matches took place in different venues on Sunday. Accordingly, Dedebit who travelled to Tigray to face Mekele City succeeded in collecting the full three points with a 2-0 win. Sidama Coffee who entertained Woldiya City managed a 1-1 draw. Dire Dawa City also dropped two points as a result of a goalless tie with Adama City. After finishing level at 1-1 with the home side Arbamich City Wolwalo University were forced to drop two points.