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Ghana Courts FIFA Ban…Over 2014 World Cup Probe (Part 2)
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Mahama Ayariga
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Information available to the Ghanaian Observer indicates that the John Dramani Mahama administration is ready to defy the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and go ahead to investigate issues that border on the competence of the GFA, which FIFA considers as interference with the autonomy of the local football association.

The latest signal picked by the paper follows a stern letter dispatched by FIFA to Ghana on Thursday which warned of sanctions and a ban from international football if the Ghanaian government proceeded with acts which FIFA considered as interference with the autonomy of the GFA.

However, the paper understands that the NDC administration is being pushed by various powerful elements within the workings of the government and the NDC party to defy FIFA and proceed with the enquiry in the way originally envisioned and risk a ban on Ghana football primarily because the enquiry is seen as a great opportunity to set the agenda for wholesale changes at the GFA which many NDC stalwarts are already scheming for.

The paper has gathered from sources high up in the echelons of power that various NDC elements who have wanted to instigate a change at the GFA since 2009 view the current happenings which spiraled after the first round elimination of the Black Stars from the 2014 Brazil World Cup as the best opportunity to launch more or less, a coup at the GFA and get rid of current President Kwesi Nyantekyi and most members of his Executive Committee.

The Ghanaian Observer understands that even though new Minister of Sports, Mahama Ayariga on Friday signaled government’s readiness to cooperate with FIFA to avoid sanctions, the interested parties in the ruling NDC made tireless efforts over the weekend to convince the Flagstaff House and the Ministry of Sports to ignore FIFA and go ahead with the probe.

A FIFA ban on Ghana is likely to see Ghana miss out on next year’s African Cup of Nations scheduled to be held in Morocco. Ghana is expected to begin its quest to qualify for the competition in less than four weeks against Uganda and any ban will see Ghana missing out of the qualifiers and thus the tournament.

A ban will also affect all other national teams and make it impossible for such national teams to participate in either CAF or FIFA organized competitions. The teams likely to be affected immediately from the consequences of such a ban include the Black Queens who are preparing to participate in the African Women’s Championship in Namibia which is scheduled to be held in October and which will also serve as the qualification tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

As well as the Black Starlets and Black Satellites who are all gearing up to start their qualifying rounds for the next African Championships which will also determine who qualifies to represent the continent at the World Cup.

FIFA in its letter stated: “In particular, we take note of the terms of reference of the Commission which are - according to the aforementioned correspondence and amongst others - "to inquire into matters relating to the preparation of the Ghana Black Stars team for the tournament and possible lapses which might have caused the early exit of the team from the tournament; to inquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament and; all other matters of public interest concerning the organisation of Ghana Black Stars' participation in the tournament that is the FIFA World Cup 2014".

These are issues which are strictly in the competence of GFA. Thus the competent body to discuss these issues should be the GFA Congress, and not any outside body.”

FIFA proceeded with the following,

“Moreover, we refer to the power that the Commission would have to remove any member of the Executive Committee or the President of the GFA in case of adverse findings. In this regard, we would like to remind you that all FIFA member associations have to manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties as clearly stipulated in articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes. Therefore and should any decision be rendered by the Commission against GFA officials thereby removing them from office, it would be considered as interference in the GFA affairs and the case would be brought to FIFA's higher instances for appropriate sanctions.”

FIFA in its letter acknowledged the need for its member associations like the GFA to be accountable for its use of public funds but also questioned how the GFA could be asked to account for public funds since the GFA doesn’t receive public funds.

“According to the information that you have provided to us in your letter dated 4 August 2014, we understand that GFA does not receive public funding for its work and that public funds allocated to the national team are managed by representatives of the government of the Republic of Ghana. As such, the officials that would be competent to account for the usage of public funds do not appear to be those of the GFA. “

FIFA in 2010 stopped almighty France from a similar investigation after the Country’s poor showing at the tournament in South Africa. Nigeria was also recently banned by FIFA over similar issues of governmental interference. Both countries embarrassingly backed down the FIFA’s actions.
Source: Ghanaian Observer

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