Ghana talks tough ahead of FIFA meeting as ban looms

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The Ghana government is talking tough ahead of its meeting with officials of football's governing body, FIFA, in Zurich on Thursday, on the threat to ban the West African country from football-related activities for interfering in activities of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

The state-owned Graphic newspaper reported on Thursday that Ghana will not to compromise on the sovereignty of the nation when its three-member team meets with FIFA officials to deliberate on the best means to resolve an impasse over perceived governmental interference in the running of the GFA.

FIFA, in a letter to the Liaison Committee, led by a Dr Kofi Amoah which is currently managing Ghana football, accused the government of third-party interference and gave the country a 27 August ultimatum to withdraw its application to the High Court to commence the liquidation process of the GFA or risk being banned from all football-related activities.

FIFA General Secretary, Fatma Samoura, said the world body considered the government's legal process to liquidate the GFA as "undue influence in the affairs of the GFA" and violated FIFA statutes.

However, explaining government's position on the matter, the Minister for Information-designate, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said although it disagreed with FIFA, it would continue to engage with the world football governing body because it remained hopeful that the impasse would be resolved.

"It is important that as we have engaged with them, even to set up a Liaison Committee and get to this point, we further engage with them on how to arrive at that solution without necessarily encountering infringement of Article 14 or 19, but that ought not to be interpreted in any way that Ghana will be willing to throw away its sovereignty through the window," he told journalists in Accra.

"We believe that the two of us can come to a common goal. FIFA's objective and ours appear to be the same and we believe that by re-engaging, we can come to that common point. But our sovereignty, our clarity to deal with the matters that we have witnessed are things that we will not compromise on," Mr Nkrumah emphasised.

According to him, FIFA and the government were committed to zero tolerance for corruption in football but only disagreed on the final route to resolve issues of corruption at the GFA.

"On receiving the communication, the government of Ghana and FIFA have continued to engage. You recall that we started engaging with them from the onset. We have continued to engage even at the highest levels and the two parties, that is, the government and FIFA, have agreed to meet today, Thursday, 16 August at the FIFA Headquarters to discuss a number of issues," Mr. Nkrumah said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, would lead the three-member government team that also comprises a Deputy Attorney General, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, and a Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Samuel Jinapor.

Mr Asiamah in a letter to FIFA has asked for further engagements with FIFA to agree the way forward following the threat to ban Ghana.

He said Ghana was asking for further engagements to "explore a mutually acceptable route to achieving our common goal".
The Bureau of the FIFA Council on Tuesday said that formal investigation proceedings were currently being carried out by the chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee against Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, former president of GFA, who has been provisionally suspended by a decision taken by the chairperson of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

However, it said, the Bureau considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to the High Court to start the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes.

"Under these circumstances, the Bureau decided that if the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday, 27 August 2018 at 12:00 (CET), the GFA will be suspended with immediate effect. The suspension would be lifted only once the above-mentioned petition is withdrawn and FIFA is given written proof thereof," it added.

The Sports Minister in his letter said that the government of Ghana is not interested in interfering in the running of football, but stressed that it is responsible to ensure that corrupt practices are not condoned.

“The GFA is registered as a company limited by guarantee under the laws of Ghana. The laws of Ghana prohibit the existence of a company which operates for illegal purposes,” Mr Asiamah said.

The developments in Ghana football follow a film by controversial Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremayaw Anas that showed football administrators and match officials allegedly accepting cash gifts.

Nyantakyi resigned from his posts as GFA president and from other positions he held with FIFA and the Confederation of African Football. He denies any wrongdoing.
-0- PANA MA 16Aug2018

16 أغسطس 2018 11:35:50

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