The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has shot back at the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, for his comments concerning the usage of FIFA funds.
According to the GFA, it is disappointed at what it described as “cack-handed comments” made by the High Commissioner. Mr. Benjamin claimed that funds released to the national soccer governing body by FIFA has not gone improve the game at the grassroots level, but instead funds the purchase of expensive SUVs for the use by officials.
Mr. Benjamin reportedly made these comments in a recent interview also implying that GFA President, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, uses FIFA funds for personal gain.
A statement issued from the GFA states that contrary to Mr Benjamin’s assertions, FIFA funds are paid directly to every federation annually for specific projects and have pre-determined uses. The statement further said these funds are audited by KPMG, an international accounting firm, and that Ghana has not defaulted on any use of FIFA funds.
“As a matter of fact, Ghana is among the few federations in the world to have reached FIFA Goal Project 5 and without financial prudence, the GFA could not have reached this milestone” it said.
The statement issued by the Communications directorate of the GFA pointed to several projects which are funded by monies received from FIFA. These projects include the federation's headquarters, which ironically stand a few yards from the British High Commission in Accra, the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence at Prampram which consists of classrooms, dormitories, conference rooms, dinning halls and pitches; also the development of an artificial pitch at the Tema Sports Stadium, and the funding of the only women’s league in Ghana.
The statement further stated that Mr. Benjamin’s call for the GFA to develop pitches in Ghana is completely misplaced. It said the development of infrastructure for the development of grassroots football--like all countries in the world--is not the responsibility of respective football federations but that of the government as part of its social contract with the citizens.
The statement also addressed the claim made by Mr. Benjamin regarding the purchase of “fleets of SUVs”.
“The GFA is surprised by this completely false claim by Mr. Benjamin. The GFA owns just two SUVs and by no stretch of the English language can two be described as ‘many’. The fact that cars of all shapes and sizes from footballers to club owners and ordinary football fans come to the federation's headquarters does not mean that it belongs to the GFA or GFA officials have diverted FIFA funds to buy luxury and expensive cars.”
The GFA called Mr Benjamin's comments “stupendous ignorance at best” and “sinister at worst”.