International businessman and well respected former football administrator globally, Herbert Amponsah Mensah, believes the ruling Mahama-led NDC government must take a cue from what the United States of America [USA's] Justice Department is doing to Fédération Internationale de Football Association [FIFA] officials alleged to have dabbled in acts of corruption.
Herbert Mensah, who has over the years insisted that Ghana’s Football Association (FA) needs a proper scrutiny for alleged corrupt practices, maintained the charges of racketeering and money laundering brought against nine FIFA officials and five sports-marketing executives from the United States and South America, should be a turning point and an arsenal to break the bulwark that government cannot interfere in FIFA related matters on the local scene.
“This is a momentous occasion and it’s a time for us to start revisiting the extent to which we can hold accountable our own FA’s and the people who run our FA’s …maybe this is the time.
“…The is the time for us [Ghanaians] to really get up and say government get stronger, mind the global laws but don’t be afraid to take on our FA’s if they are involved in criminal acts…if they are not serving greater interest, deal with them and see whether we can’t enjoin with actions with the American government to ensure that we can get change.
“Given the facts that the internal democratic process within football does not encourage change or really allow fraud the way that we really want. I think we are all tired and the time is come for change. It doesn’t have to be like this,” he bemoaned.
In a video message copied to Peacefmonline.com, the former Kumasi Asante Kotoko CEO, lauded the USA for its sweeping probes of the indicted officials.
To him, FIFA activities have been swamped with corruption over the years but less has been done to query its executives until recent times – “Nobody is happy about that”.
He was full of praise for the Americans for taking the once "untouchable" FIFA on.
“They [Americans] have caned them [FIFA] well and thoroughly and properly. Why can’t FIFA tell America if you interfere with us we’ll ban you?” he questioned
Dawn raids by Swiss police on Wednesday saw arrests of nine FIFA officials including Jeffrey Webb, a FIFA vice-president from the Cayman Islands who holds a British passport and fellow vice-president, Eugenio Figueredo from Uruguay.
All are challenging extradition to the USA where authorities have indicted 18 people on corruption charges.
The US Department of Justice charged 18 people over alleged bribes totalling more than 150 million US dollars (£98 million) paid for television rights, sponsorship deals and World Cup votes, with the payments allegedly transferred using American wire and banking facilities.
In a separate development, the Swiss attorney general also opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, seized documents and electronic data from FIFA HQ, and police have started questioning the 10 current FIFA ExCo members who voted on that tournament.
With FIFA presidential election to be held today, May 29, 2015, UEFA president Michel Platini has declared 'enough is enough' and in a face-to-face showdown demanded that FIFA president Sepp Blatter quit.
But Sepp Blatter has refused to kowtow to the pressure being mounted on him to step down saying “I don’t take the responsivities of others”.
However, the President of the Ghana Rugby Association [GRA], Herbert sees Blatter responses as disrespectful to association football.
“Why is he [Sepp Blatter] the head of FIFA? Who is he responsible to…I think he is laughable,” he noted.
Africa must wise up
Other European countries have warned all options would be considered to boycott the next World Cup if 79-year-old Blatter wins FIFA election against main contender Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein.
It is believed Blatter has some impressive votes from Africa likely to help him win the presidency with support from some Asia countries.
But the one-time Asante Kotoko CEO recommends that Confederation of African Football [CAF] rejects FIFA for its dishonesty.
“I think it’s time for African to stand tall and to say, rather than being the ‘boys’ who are accused of taking briberies to support Sepp Blatter, accused of taking bribes to support decision that are not in global interest…stand up and say this is the time for change, let him [Sepp Blatter] go.
“…Let us [Africans] show that we also have the credibility that most of us doubt that they actually do have,” he said.
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