9 June 2018

Government dissolves Ghanaian FA after corruption allegations

The Ghanaian government has dissolved the Ghanaian Football Association (GFA), after its President and other football officials were accused of accepting corrupt payments following a two year investigation by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. ‘Having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top officials of the GFA, the National Sports Authority (NSA), match commissioners, football administrators and referees, the government has decided to take immediate steps to dissolve the GFA’, read a statement from Dr. Hamid Mustapha, Ghana’s Minister of Information, reported by Ghana News Agency.

Kwesi Nyantakyi resigned as President of the GFA on Friday, and the GFA postponed all football matches in the country as ‘a result of a directive from the the government of Ghana’, it said in a statement. ‘In the said report, I committed a series of errors of indiscretion’, read a statement from Nyantakyi. ‘I gravely associated the highest office of the land – the Presidency – with private discussions I had with “Scammers” who deceived me into thinking they were genuine persons interested in investing in our country’.

The international federation of football associations (FIFA) provisionally banned Nyantakyi, a FIFA Council member, for 90 days whist it investigates potential breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics. In the investigation (BBC report below), Nyantakyi is alleged to have accepted a US$65,000 payment in relation to a sponsorship deal. Article 20.2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics prevents the acceptance of cash from anyone within or outside of FIFA.

The investigation involves over 100 individuals who are alleged to have been involved in over 150 corrupt payments. It includes on-field officials, who are alleged to have taken corrupt payments ahead of Ghanaian Premier League, Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League games and international matches.

This included Kenyan referee Adel Range Marwa, who was alleged to have accepted a $600 payment ahead of an African Cup of Nations game. When approached by the BBC, Marwa denied any wrongdoing. It is understood that he has pulled out of officiating at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

FIFA has yet to indicate how it will respond to the Ghanaian government’s decision to suspend the GFA. Article 17 of the FIFA Statutes requires each member association to manage its affairs independently, and has previously been used by FIFA in situations where governments have attempted to intervene in the management of national associations. However, there is no indication that the Ghanaian government intends to take control of the GFA at this stage. Ghana did not qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

It is also possible that the investigation could affect the 13 June vote to appoint the host of the 2026 World Cup. Morocco is competing against a bid from Canada, Mexico and the US to host the tournament.

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