EOCO pries into corporate sponsorship of football

By Chronicle Reporter

Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, GFA President (left), The EOCO ofiicials wheel away after their raid on GFA (right)

The investigation into the financial affairs of the Ghana Football Association by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), for which officials of EOCO seized nine computers and several files, belonging to the football controlling body recently, appears to have taken a new turn.

The Chronicle gathers that organisations and corporate bodies sponsoring major football activities in the country have been ordered by EOCO to submit detailed information of their sponsorship packages to the head office of the crime unit, with immediate effect.

Details of what EOCO is seeking from these corporate sponsors are sketchy, as officials are tight-lipped on the matter, but information gleaned by The Chronicle indicates that almost all organisations offering sponsorship packages to the organisation of football in Ghana have been approached to submit reports.

Goldfields Ghana Limited, head sponsors of the Black Stars, which also pays the wages of the national coach, were reported to have received a summons from EOCO, with orders to provide written details of all sponsorship deals with the GFA.

Similar summons were said to have been dispatched to Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, which has a long standing arrangement with the GFA to cater for some aspects of the Black Stars international and local engagements, as well as transporting various supporters groups to international engagements involving the Black Stars, and the other seven national football teams managed by the GFA on behalf of the state.

Reliable information, as The Chronicle prepared to go to press yesterday, was that Voltic Ghana Limited, the company that provides water for all Black Stars engagements, as well as the seven other national teams, the Ghana Professional League, and the lower divisions of Ghana soccer, were under summons to account for all water provided in the name of football in Ghana.

The Chronicle gathered yesterday that the inquisition by EOCO into these sponsorship packages has the tendency of discouraging corporate bodies from aiding the development of the game in this country.

In a letter dated November 29, 2010, warning the Government of Ghana to stay away from subjecting sponsorship deals brokered by the Ghana Football Association, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) stated thus; “We would like to specify that during his meeting with the President of Ghana, the FIFA President only mentioned that the government of Ghana could audit the GFA, related to the attribution of public funds, i.e. government funds. This of course excludes the funds coming from other sources such as FIFA, CAF, or corporate bodies.”

Observers believe the prying eyes of EOCO, into sponsorship packages from corporate bodies, could have dire consequences for the promotion and development of the game in this country, as it could discourage firms and organisations from sponsoring football as an organised sport in the country.

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