Gariba Raubil writes – Government’s interference in football matters necessary and beneficial but confusing

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The Tiger Eye Pi latest investigations into Ghana football corruption titled “Number 12, when corruption and greed become the norm” premiered in Accra on June 6th and subsequently shown to the public in Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale on different dates did not only armed government with robust evidence to take action against the GFA and implicated officials but it also gave FIFA the licence to suspend its council member Mr.Kwesi Nyantakyi for breach of ethics.

The Ghana government reacted immediately on June 7th with the Information ministry press releasing a statement in which the government announced it’s intention to dissolve the GFA and to form an interim administrative body to oversee the business of football in the country. The next day , the Ghana Police declared the premises and offices of the GFA as “crime scene” and therefore restricting access to the home of the country’s soccer regulator.

It is worth stating that even before the June 6th premiering of the Tiger Eye video dubbed #Number12, the GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi was already the subject a criminal investigation by the CID of Ghana Police, an investigation ordered by president Akufo-Addo who had watched part of the Tiger Eye Pi expose and quickly ordered for the GFA boss to be investigated.

This political power interference was necessary and beneficial to our football but is it also confusing.

Necessity and Benefit 

I say it is necessary and beneficial in the sense that a decision was finally taken by the sovereign government looking at the years of football corruption and mismanagement (see 2015 Transparency International report), degradation of the quality of the game, the lack of grassroots and infrastructural development and the loss of confidence in the GFA by majority of the public. In all these years the GFA failed to take proper steps to clean itself and therefore government was forced to respond after the Tiger Eye Pi damming investigation .

On Friday June 8th, FIFA Ethics committee moved to ban Mr. Nyantakyi for 90 days from all football activities and about an hour following the announcement of the FIFA decision the Wa All Stars owner resigned from his position as the GFA president. He also left his role as CAF first vice-president and resigned as President of Zone B of the West African Football Union (WAFU). Almost 80 Ghanaian match officials were captured on camera in damning, compromising situations with some referees accepting physical cash and goat as gifts before and after league and Cup games.

This will pave the way for football governance in the country to start on a new basis after the reformation which is unpreventable now.

Confusion

After the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, secured an exp parte court injunction against the GFA on June 12th. This court injunction rendered the GFA, their statutes, regulations, standing committees and all other things that make up the GFA powerless and inactive.

This meant that the GFA could not draw any obligation from its own statutes, regulations etc and cannot also carry itself as the GFA in relationship with FIFA or CAF or in nay international football matters since the GFA was injuncted by a Ghanaian law court. This is the reason why no Ghanaian representative voted at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13th that elected the USA/Mexico/Canada as host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

But the government on June 13th,  announced a five-member interim management committee to oversee the administration of football in the meantime in the country. They were Dr.Kofi Amoah (chairman), Cudjoe Fianoo(sectretary), Abedi Pele (member), Rev.Osei Kofi (member) and Eva Okyere (member). According to government this IMC will govern the activity of football until a a new body is duly formed.

No exact commencement date of work of the IMC was given but considering the meaning of the wordings of the release “in the meantime the govermnent of Ghana has decided to set up an interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the administration of football and other related matters in Ghana…..” , it can reasonably be taken that the IMC started working from the moment this decision was taken and announced. The key phrase here is ” in the meantime”…..

Since government said the IMC is formed to oversee football administration this means the organization and business of Ghana football cannot be interpreted to be under suspension (it is the body GFA which is injuncted but not the economic business of football) and one can therefore make logical assumptions that government tasks the IMC to ensure the resumption of the second round of the 2018 league season because government hasn’t decided against the continuation of the league. It also means the IMC is to ensure the continuing participation of Aduana Stars in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Question. But with which mandate, football regulations, with which statutes, with which football laws is the IMC running football on the interim with since the GFA stand injuncted? or can a different governing body, in this case the government IMC, still operate with the laws of the injuncted-GFA?

Or is the IMC going to work with special regulations made by government?

Again. Since no judicial audit has been opened against the GFA and its executives, since no further investigations have been opened against officials, match officials implicated in the Tiger Eye Pi video, on what basis is government appointing the IMC to continue running football in the meantime with these same questionable referees, match officials, officials in the system?

Is Samuel Suka banned as a match referee? No action has been taken against him.

On what grounds did even Okyeman Planners wrote a petition to FIFA? Bear in mid that the GFA which is a direct member of FIFA cannot interact with FIFA or CAF during the period of the court injunction? So how can an indirect member, Planners, write to FIFA? Or are they not aware of the court injunction against their mother body the GFA? Has the government or the IMC also communicated with the clubs that make up the the GFA? Has the government told the clubs their current status now that their mother body the GFA is injuncted?

Will the second round of the 2018 premier league season, MTN FA Cup continue ? No ones knows for now.  But I think government must make that communication clear to the clubs and all stakeholders of the game as it continues to take steps to dissolve and liquidate the GFA. This decision must be communicated because the continuation or cancellation of the 2018 league season cannot be tied to government’s legal journey to have the GFA dissolved or liquidated because these legal processes may take up to three years to come to a finality according to legal experts.

And so, can we be kept in a state of uncertainty regarding Ghana football until the government completes all necessary legal proceedings in trying to dissolve and liquidate the GFA? Even if it takes government two, three years to form a duly governing football body? Definitely not.

On the other hand if the current season will be canceled, government must also come clear.

And if the 2018 soccer season will be canceled. When shall we expect it to bounce back? Are we going to still present representatives in the 2019 CAF inter-club competitions?

Reforms and changes are needed in the football governance and the government’s intervention was necessary and good service to football  but the problem is how it is being done.

The government must communicate its solution methods more explicitly and this must be done quickly and competently . I do welcome government’s call for the public to exercise restraint as it tries to solve the current football crisis but like a boxing bout where a boxer is able to win a KO with just one blow in the first round, Ghana football can also win as quickly and efficiently as possible after these years of corrupt and dishonest football management under Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi. We have to bounce back. After all we’ve seen teams play badly for 89 minutes but score a 90th minute goal to win a soccer game. What does that mean? In football everything is possible. Yes the GFA president was corrupt for many years. The game suffered from this corruption for years. We knew it. We wrote about it. We campaigned against it but the powerful soccer clubs ironically the direct sufferers, took no serious revolutionary action against the corrupt Nyantakyi vintage of GFA administration. Our corruption perception against the GFA was correct as Tiger Eye Pi confirmed it with robust evidence but what I’m saying is that we can win again and we can do that starting from now.

No need to break football for a year or more in the name of reforming or restructuring or dissolution. If we do that it can be interpreted to mean our lack of ability and capacity to reform. It is my candid opinion that the game must continue whilst we take steps to sanitize the system, simultaneously.

Until next time………

Gariba.

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