FIFA to ban Ghana if government dissolves GFA

Kwesi Nyantakyi

Since #Number12, an investigative piece on corruption in Ghana football by Anas Aremeyaw Anas was premiered on June 6 in Accra, many football fans have called for the dissolution of the Ghana Football Association to deal with the rot and government seem to have yielded to the call.

FIFA rules oblige member associations to manage their own affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

However, many critics after watching the two-hour video which depicts how 77 Ghanaian referees allegedly took bribes to influence their decisions in football matches are calling on the government to take the difficult decision to dissolve the GFA whose President was implicated in the scandal.

According to the documentary, six officials of the National Sports Authority were caught on video entering into visa deals.

Another 14 officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) are captured on video taking various sums in bribe to engage in match-fixing.

Some Executive Committee members are also recorded negotiating deals to influence the outcome of games of football.

In the event that government disbands the GFA as it has threatened, this is how it is likely to play out;

1. FIFA would suspend Ghana from international football on the grounds of government interference in the running of its national federation.

The suspension will mean that all rights of the GFA as a FIFA member as defined in article 12 of the FIFA Statutes will be truncated. This means no Ghanaian team, including club sides, can play in regional, continental or international competitions.

This means that while the ban persists, the Black Stars will not be able to play in the AFCON qualifiers and CAF Confederation Cup campaigners Aduana Stars will be kicked out of that competition.

Also, the national female U-17 team, the Black Maidens billed to make their 6th consecutive appearance at the competition which will be held from November 13- December 1 in Uruguay will face a jolt in their preparations and likely miss that competition.

Ghana has been drawn in Group A alongside tournament hosts Uruguay, New Zealand and debutants Finland.

Independence of Members and their bodies

i. Each Member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

ii. A Member’s bodies shall be either elected or appointed in that Association. A Member’s statutes shall provide for a procedure that guarantees the complete independence of the election or appointment.

iii. Any Member’s bodies that have not been elected or appointed in compliance with the provisions of par. 2, even on an interim basis, shall not be recognised by FIFA.

iv. Decisions passed by bodies that have not been elected or appointed in compliance with par. 2 shall not be recognised by FIFA.

2. In addition to the exclusion from competitions, the GFA will also fall outside of any training or development programs run by FIFA.

Ghana will also miss out on development programmes such as the Goal Projects and training courses for coaches and referees funded by FIFA.

In 2003, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) benefited from this when it signed a US$ 400,000 deal with FIFA for the construction of the Ghanaman Soccer School of Excellence in Prampram.

The Goal project is also expected to see Ghana benefit from the construction of a water-based artificial turf pitch at the same venue.

The GFA also benefits from the FIFA LIVE YOUR GOAL PROJECT, an initiative from FIFA, aimed at helping young girls live their dreams of becoming footballers and achieving their goals not only as footballers but also educating themselves to the highest level.

3. When/If Ghana will be reinstated?

Ghana will only be reinstated once FIFA is satisfied that the GFA administration is able to work without any interference in their affairs.

In the case of Nigeria, banned by FIFA from international football in 2014 after the FIFA World Cup in Brazil for government interference in the running of its national federation, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) only withdrew the suspension when the world football governing body was satisfied that there was no longer any interference.

A FIFA statement said: “FIFA has noted that the court proceedings and order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football that prompted the suspension have been withdrawn.

“As statutory order has been reinstated at the NFF and the legitimate bodies reinstalled, FIFA has decided to lift the suspension as of today, Friday 18 July 2014.

“The lifting of the suspension means that all rights of the NFF as a FIFA member as defined in article 12 of the FIFA Statutes are reinstated.”

According to the Associated Press, FIFA acted on July 9 after the NFF executive committee was sacked in the wake of Nigeria’s exit from the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil after a 2-0 defeat by France in the last 16.

In the wake of Nigeria’s exit to France at the last 16 of the World Cup, the high court of the West African country ruled that its federation would cease to run the national team, handing over the role to a government civil servant.

The ban came after FIFA’s warnings to return power to the executive committee went unheeded with an extraordinary general assembly of the federation taking place in Abuja without NFF chief Aminu Maigari, his executive committee and the NFF congress.

NFF chief Maigari was also arrested on his return from South America but was later released.