“To date, the scope of investigations into the allegations of widespread match-fixing and corruption within the GFA remains unclear. However, the Bureau considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to the High Court of Justice to start the liquidation process of the Ghana Football Association constitutes undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of article 14 par 1 i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the FIFA statutes.
Under these circumstances, the Bureau based on art 16 par. 1 of the FIFA statutes decided on 11 August 2018 that if the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday, 27 August, 2018 at 12h00, the Ghana Football Association would be suspended with immediate effect. The suspension would be lifted only once the above mentioned petition is withdrawn and FIFA is given written proof thereof.”
These two paragraphs caught my attention as I read through the ‘letter’. I do not want to bore u with excerpts of the Anas Expose but I would want to believe that anyone out there who really wanted to see the documentary would have done that by now and would be very much aware of its content. It was mind boggling and shameful the level of corruption in our game from the very top. I recall that FIFA were pretty much interested in the bits of information they received culminating in their decision to send some officials from Zurich to see the documentary for themselves and oversee a road map through the creation of a Liaison Committee. It was clearly of massive interest to them especially at the time FIFA had been working extremely hard to deal with its battered image of yesteryears.
Government acted in a way it felt right which was to take steps to dissolve the Football Association. This then brings to the fore varied interpretations of the first paragraph quoted above. I do not understand in very clear terms what FIFA means by the scope being unclear. I would not pretend to be a lawyer to fully appreciate the legal course over the last two months. My basic understanding is that government as they have repeatedly said is taking steps to dissolve the association due to the high level of corruption in our game. If that is the case, I struggle to comprehend that first statement. The Attorney-General Madam Gloria Akuffo and her two deputies Messrs’ Dame and Kpemka have been on several platforms to explain the trajectory of events and their actions. Fair. I do however know that FIFA frowns on adjudicatory bodies outside its Jurisdiction handling such matters as it may amount to a certain level of interference. Then again, the question that linger on the minds of many is that, in this particular instance, the misdemeanors are from the very top that touched on massive criminality with the first gentleman of the country being drawn in the mix.
To every rule there is an exception and FIFA cannot especially in these times when the jury is still out on the organization be hell bent on administering its laws in a straight jacket manner. Is Madam Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura through her organization suggesting that the criminality element be ignored? That her organization which was raided by the FBI and the Swiss Police can have its members impudently using the name of the Leaders (Presidents) in all kinds of activities? She and her organization may have a point with the dissolution which many including myself have criticized as there were several other options government could have exploited. Government though thought otherwise but life must go on but surely not in this threatening manner.
I have listened to several convo’s on the sovereignty bit where the laws of FIFA should not and cannot super cede the laws of the land and rightly so. The organization was almost in meltdown a few years ago and Mr Infantino who was General Secretary of UEFA at the time would attest to this. Why didn’t they contest the Swiss and the FBI? I would be utterly surprised if government plays ball on this issue. That would be highly untenable and create the impression that the Ghana Football Association is untouchable. They are not untouchable. That is clear.
Two weeks is very long time to stem the tide and avert this ridiculous ban. Government has the option of calling their bluff and instituting very important reforms as the approval ratings of the Ghana Football Association is still very much on the low. We love our football and thousands of lives depend on the activities of the sport but the right things must be done. The reforms are a must thus the Football Controlling body should not attempt to create this palpable discord with the government and the good people of Ghana. Which Football Association in Africa can survive without governmental support? They will be gone in a flash. Not even the South Africans and the North African countries can.
This is the time to see reason and get all hands on deck. Entrenched positions would be foolish especially the direct investors in the game. A FIFA ban could have consequences and if it is the way to go I am sure government would consider all the implications or otherwise. And to those who are celebrating the release of this letter like they have just defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, they should remember that their friends and cronies caused this mess in the first place. Yes, Nigeria and Cameroun called the bluff of FIFA and came back strongly thereafter but no two situations are the same. I would not subscribe to that.
Keeping my fingers crossed till 12h00 on Monday, 27 August, 2018.
The writer Kwame Dwomoh Agyemang is the Sports Editor, Class 91.3 FM and an Adjunct Communications Lecturer at Pentecost University College, Sowutuom and GH Media School, Achimota.