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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Monday 22 April 2019

Football association ravaged by exposé

Masked investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has done it again. Legalbrief reports that three years after his exposé of Ghana's judiciary saw the removal from office of numerous corrupt judges, court registrars and interpreters, he has shredded the Ghana Football Association (GFA). The scribe, whose motto is 'name, shame and jail', gathered audio-visual evidence of corruption within the association. And thousands of Ghanaians last week queued for tickets to watch his Number 12 documentary which fingers 77 Ghanaian referees and 14 football association officials for engaging in acts of corruption. A report on the Face2Face Africa site notes that President Nana Akufo Addo has ordered police to open an investigation into the matter. The documentary shows GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi in a Moroccan hotel room telling agents employed by Anas that they can secure lucrative contracts in the country if they bribe their way through senior government officials. ‘You can start with something small in your own discretion then, when you get the contract, big, big contracts, we can go back and give them more money. Then we take over the whole country,’ he says. And 15 referees were even caught on camera allegedly accepting just $100 to rig Ghana Premier League matches, notes a TimesLIVE report. My Joy Online reports that the documentary includes a chilling account of the 2001 tragedy when 120 died as a result of crowd violence in a Hearts of Oak versus Kotoko game in Accra. The incident was sparked by the referee allowing a goal which the Kotoko fans perceived to be offside.

Nyantakyi, a member of Fifa's decision-making council, on Friday resigned and apologised to Akufo-Addo and the government for what he called his 'indiscretion'. Fifa said it has suspended Nyantakyi for 90 days. The Ghanaian Government has begun a process to dissolve the national soccer body, Information Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid confirmed. The Star reports that Fifa has not yet commented on whether any action will be taken over the government's plan to dissolve the GFA. The global soccer body does not accept any third party, including government, interference in its member associations. It could respond by suspending Ghana's membership, which would mean the country's national teams could no longer compete internationally. Ghana, who have played at three previous World Cups, missed out on this year's tournament which starts in Russia on Thursday. In other developments, Ghana's police have locked down the GFA offices, declaring the building a crime scene.

The discussion to dissolve the association will have far-reaching consequences, notes a My Joy Online analysis which predicts that an interim management body will be established. A case in point is Cameroon which was banned from global football in July 2013 before the establishment of a Fifa-approved Normalisation Committee. 'If the Ghana government is seen to have interfered, a ban – as in Cameroon's case – will come into play immediately. Nigeria also had a ban in 2014 after its Sports Ministry dissolved the country’s football federation. This will mean Ghana will not be able to move on the Fifa rankings until a recognised administration is in place. A dissolution of the GFA means all national teams cannot take part in any Fifa and CAF sanctioned competitions.'