After banning Nigeria from FIFA-sanctioned tournaments for sacking the entire FA, the world soccer governing body is now threatening to replicate the sanctions on Ghana. This follows the Ghana government’s establishment of a Commission to inquire into events leading to the abysmal performance of the senior national team, the Black Stars as well as backroom events that put the country in the line of international ridicule.

Ghana Football Association logo The Black Stars stumbled out of Brazil 2014 despite being perhaps Africa’s most fancied side after  a player revolt that saw a player assaulting an official, a dismissal of 2 key players and the government flying in $3m do appease them before they played their last group stage match against Portugal. They lost that game 2-1 but each player had earlier been paid a whopping $100,000 each in appearance fees.

Back home from the tournament, the government instituted a 3-member committee comprising Appeal Court Judge, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, Sports Administrator and legal practitioner, Moses Foh Amoaning and Kofi Anokye Darko to look into the events of an unsuccessful campaign. Days after the institution of the committee, Minister for Youth and Sports, Mahama Ayariga, who himself has been brought in to replace the Sports Minister who led the team to Brazil, announced government’s decision to upgrade the Committee into a Commission, thus giving it powers to summon people to appear before it.

“I have monitored social media and media discussions since the Committee was set up. I had a meeting with the President and he has agreed that we should turn it into a Presidential Commission of Enquiry” he said. Mr. Ayariga buttressed his point, by quoting Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution which empowers the President to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to investigate any matter he (President) deems necessary. FIFA however seems not amused at what it considers ‘interference’.

Sub-section (g) of Article 13 of FIFA Statutes dealing with Members’ obligation states clearly that: “Members have an obligation to manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties; to comply fully with all other duties arising from these Statutes and other regulations”.

According to Thierry Regenass, FIFA Director for Member Associations, “FIFA has the mandate to control association football worldwide, in all its aspects. This mandate is delegated to the national association, to control association football at the national level. This is about managing, controlling and developing football as a game and also the organization of the game in general. The associations have the obligation to do it on their own, in an autonomous way without outside interference, from the government or any other parties”.

In line with this the world football authority has written to the Ghanaian FA enquiring about the nature of the government probe. In a three-paragraph letter, FIFA questions the Ghana Football Association on the composition and competences of the Commission set up by Government.

The letter signed by Deputy General Secretary, Markus Kattner reads: “We have learnt from media reports that the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana has appointed a Committee of Enquiry and Investigation into the Black Stars’ participation to the 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil. The composition and the competences of the said Commission are unclear. Provided the reports are true we deem it important to clarify from the beginning the procedures and to ensure that the GFA can operate without interference as required by FIFA statutes. Under this circumstance we kindly ask you to provide us with a report at your earliest convenience”.

There is an ongoing debate about how much ‘interference’ should be allowed with a popular sentiment that ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune”.  An enraged sports analyst wrote on his Facebook page: “How the hell does the government fund the game and still has no say??? That clause in the FIFA constitution should be challenged. It’s utter NONSENSE!”

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