Ghana Football: Meeting Between Government and FIFA

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Fair play in competitive football is the needed hallmark or yardstick for all tournaments, whether at the sub-district, regional, national or international level.

Written By Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako During the meeting in Accra last week between government and a three-man FIFA delegation a number of decisions were taken.

One decision was that both the Ghana government and FIFA had zero tolerance for corruption. It was also agreed that the Ghana government has the right to use its national laws to stamp out corruption and deal with unethical conduct. Again, it was agreed that negotiation was to continue in Zurich, Switzerland to finalise interim arrangements for football activities in the country to continue. As part of effort to resolve the problem, the government went to court to obtain a 10-day injunction to freeze all the activities of GFA as part of moves to dissolve the football body. The action taken by government is not destructive in any way or ill intentioned. Rather, it is to prepare the ground for total transformation of the football body so that the good intentions of FIFA to operate ethically and fairly to all parties can come into fruition.

If any government bans its football body with the motive of flexing political muscles and controlling it in any way it wants, then FIFA has every right to ban the country concerned. In this particular case, however, it is to save a situation where some members of the football administration body, including many referees, are involved in corrupt deals that go contrary to FIFA rules and ethics and fair play. FIFA itself, having watched the Anas video has placed a 90-day ban on Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi. In the light of this, government could not have looked on unconcerned. It is a very dicey situation that needs to be addressed devoid of emotions. At the same time the right thing ought to be done to prove to the world that no one condones corruption in any form. Going to court for the injunction shows that it is not the intention of government to flex its muscles in an autocratic manner but in a democratic way to ensure fairness. The issue at stake will serve as a test case for FIFA itself and all its affiliate associations throughout the world so it must be handled well to forestall any problem. If, at the initial stages, government had looked on unconcerned, corruption in the administration of football would have continued and there would be no fairness to all participating clubs in the country. At the same time if government had intervened to restructure the GFA, FIFA may take it to mean that the government has taken over football administration.

Thus, the issue must be handled so well that it will not adversely affect the country in any way that would go against the game of football which is the passion of the nation. It is good that the government has shown concern about the rot in the GFA. Therefore, FIFA is expected to support the government of Ghana to clean the entire system of football administration in the country.

Fair play in competitive football is the needed hallmark or yardstick for all tournaments, whether at the sub-district, regional, national or international level. FIFA and its affiliate institutions stand for fair play and ethical conduct in all football tournaments so it should support Ghana to reform the GFA for the better, especially in the face of the documentary evidence against the GFA President and other officials in the country.