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Government Of Ghana, FIFA Meeting at Zurich

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NEWS COMMENTARY EXAMINES OUTCOME OF GOG, FIFA ZURICH MEETING
Ghana was shown a warning card by FIFA for its attempt to dissolve the Ghana Football Association, GFA. In a letter to the Government of Ghana, FIFA threatened to suspend the country from the World football governing body, if government does not withdraw the Ghana Football Association liquidation case it has filled in Court. Led by the Attorney General Madam Gloria Akuffo and the Registrar Generals Department, government is in court seeking to liquidate the GFA to pave way for the formation of a new football body to oversee football administration in Ghana.
The attempted liquidation process follows the Number 12 expose by Ace Investigative Journalist Anas Aremeyawo Anas and his Tiger PI team which indicted the then GFA President Kwasi Nyantakyi and a number of referees.The football officials were caught on tape engaging in corrupt practices which includes match fixing, dubious sponsorship deals, under hand dealings, influence peddling among other unacceptable practices in the game. The expose received lots of condemnations. Ghanaians were outraged and they demanded that something drastic should be done to clean the GFA.
The sentiment of the nation on the expose and the fact that the name of the President of the Republic Nana Akuffo Addo was mentioned in an influence peddling act, pushed government to do what it considered at the time needful, liquidate the football Association. Government directed the security agencies to investigate the case of which Mr.Nyantakyi was invited by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Service.Findings of the CID are yet to be known.
Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports also set up a liason team to dialogue with FIFA. The big question is, can government liquidate an entity that is to a greater extent financed and governed by FIFA. Again for how long will the GFA be hiding behind FIFA to stop government from knowing happenings at the GFA since government is the main financer of the national teams. Can domestic laws apply to the workings of the GFA? Yes they can.
This is where there is conflict between FIFA rules of non-interference and Ghana’s laws on corruption, registration of entities and accountability. The conflictual nature of the issues calls for dialogue and fashioning out of solutions to the impasse. Yes! FIFA has suspended Mr Nyantakyi as a sign of its commitment to fighting corruption.This means that both Government and FIFA have a converging point. According to the Minister of Information designated Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, FIFA and government only differ on the path to follow in reforming the GFA.
It is in this light that the government delegation to Zurich, the headquarters of FIFA was very important.The meeting yielded an amicable solution. It was agreed that the Government of Ghana and FIFA work closely to eradicate corruption and malfeasance and other associated criminal conduct from the administration of football in Ghana. Also the Government and FIFA shall establish a joint task force to create proper disciplinary, governance and auditing mechanisms as well as ensure that persons who are found culpable are punished in accordance with Ghanaian domestic laws and FIFA statutes. In addition,FIFA upon consultation with the Government and CAF shall establish a normalization committee to replace the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association.Further more, FIFA in consultation with the Government and CAF shall appoint persons with integrity and competence to constitute the membership of the normalization committee.Satisfied with the agreed roadmaps, FIFA has asked the Government of Ghana to take steps to discontinue the process for the winding up of the Ghana Football Association.
The unfortunate trend has brought football in the country to a halt. It has affected team owners, administrators, players and supporters in general. When the warning letter came some section of the public asked government to call the bluff of FIFA and go ahead with its plan to dissolve the GFA. To them the ban would have helped the nation to have time to correct the various challenges bedeviling Ghana’s football. Others have also wondered what government will do if the GFA is liquidated since observers are yet to see pragmatic Plan of action towards the reformation.
It has been revealed that FIFA’s letter of suspension was triggered because the Ministry of Sports failed in providing a roadmap for the reforms to FIFA. It is essential that the nation took the path of dialogue to avoid getting on the list of FIFA’s banned nations. Nigeria tasted FIFA’s ban and another looming for the 20th of this month for government interference. If the ban has not helped Nigeria then Ghana needs to be mindful of its decisions. We need our football back. For football described as the passion of the nation should not continue to suffer. Soccer fans want to see their favourite clubs back in action. God save Ghana football.
BY ALBERT PARKER NARTEY, A SPORTS JOURNALIST

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