Referees have vital roles to play in the game.

Bribery and match fixing allegations

Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah

Posted on: Wed Aug 31, 2016

Recently I wrote about how we can save the ailing image of the Ghana Premier League. I mentioned a lot of things we do wrong which eventually bring the name of our League into disrepute. My major worry was on how some club officials take the law into their own hands especially at their home grounds and do naughty things that tend to destroy the image of the League.

I emphasized on how some club officials easily enter inner perimeters of the playing fields and do what they like when the rules say that you have to be on the official list to sit on the technical bench.

The response towards my write-up was encouraging. Some football gurus called and urged me to continue to give education on the rules governing the game because it seems most people are ignorant about them. I plan to team up with some retired referees in that regard and pray my dream becomes a reality.          

Today I want to look at the foul comments, allegations on bribery and match fixing which are gaining firm roots in our League. The complaints are becoming unbearable and its high time we woke up and dealt ruthlessly with it. We have over the years had some club officials and sometimes players insulting referees and they go scot free.

I recall a recent unfortunate comment by a colleague sports journalist Ameenu Shardow - an Administrative Manager of Dreams FC. Shardow is a decent guy but his recent comment on Referee Nathan Anafo who handled the match day 23 fixture between Kotoko and Dreams FC in Kumasi was bad. Shardow was bold enough to call the referee an armed robber and murderer in a post-match interview with the press.

It was indeed a derogatory remark from my good friend. Assuming the penalty awarded Kotoko was doubtful as Shardow claimed, it is too harsh to call Referee Nathan Anafo an armed robber and murderer when he has no evidence of a murder case against him. We don’t have to encourage such foul comments which tarnish the image of the game. Let’s not forget that the referees have reputations to protect outside football. 

There have also been allegations and counter allegations on bribery and match fixing in recent years. Before this season started, there was a big issue on bribery allegation involving Techiman City and Division One Wa Africa United.  The Wa club in a letter dated 29th July, 2015, informed the GFA that their match day 22 fixture of the GN Division One League played at the Damongo Park was fixed. The Wa club further alleged in the said letter that they were given GH¢2,000 by Techiman City as well as other payments for feeding to play a match of convenience.

Per the evidence given by Wa Africa United, the GFA Ethics Committee found Techiman City and United guilty of bribery and match fixing. The Committee therefore sanctioned the two clubs and individuals involved in accordance with Article 68(2) of the GFA Disciplinary Code.

In accordance with Article 68 (2) of the Disciplinary Code, Article 40 (4.3.6) and Article 40 (4.9) the Committee pronounced that: “For giving and accepting bribe aimed at influencing the results of their League match, the two Clubs i.e. Wa African United and Techiman City FC are hereby demoted to the next Division (Division two). “The Team Manager (Kofi Adams) and Coach (Yaw Baah Suleman) both of Wa African United FC and Yaw Adamu Acheampong (an official of Techiman City FC) are all banned for one year from all football related activities”.

I applause the Ethics Committee ruling because I thought for once Wa Africa United and Techiman City had been used as an example to serve as a strong warning to others but to my utmost surprise and dismay the whole thing turned out to be a “foolish case”. The GFA’s Appeals Committee subsequently overturned the decision of the Ethics Committee to demote Techiman City FC for bribery and match-fixing. I was shocked to the marrow to see authorities sweeping such a disgraceful act under the carpet. That was where I started losing confidence in the judicial bodies of our football for covering the true.

Another issue on match fixing popped up last week and we are waiting anxiously to see how the DC/Ethics Committee will deal with the issue. New Edubiase striker Prince Antwi has alleged that his side was involved in a fixed match against Wa All Stars in the first round (match day five) which All Stars won 2-1. In the second round Wa All Stars beat Edubiase 1-0 at Bekwai and sunk them deep into the relegation zone and Prince Antwi is accusing the league leaders for betraying them.

“In the course of the game (first round) we were told Kwasi Nyantakyi has instructed us to play a game of convenience. It was 1-1 by then but we allowed Wa All Stars to win. I was shocked they didn’t reciprocate the favour we did them at Bekwai” Prince Antwi is reported to have alleged. I understand the tape recording is with the GFA’s Ethics Committee and I expect them to act swiftly on it.

We can’t gloss over this serious allegation on match fixing involving Edubiase and Wa All Stars. Authorities must delve deep into the case and ascertain the truth. If the complainant fails to substantiate his claims, he must not be spared. If the accused team is also found guilty, it must be drastically dealt with despite being owned by the GFA President because the image of our League is at stake.

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