When FIFA sets the ground rules…

Ebo Quansah

It is all well and good that the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) has spelt it out loud and clear; “GFA must manage its own affairs independently and with no influence from third parties, as stated in Article 17 paragraph 1 and Article13 paragraph 1 (a) of the FIFA Statutes, and that violations of such provisions might lead to sanctions, as stated in the same Article 13 – Paragraph 2 and 3.”

It is my prayer and that of every Ghanaian willing the Black Stars on, to challenge the elites of the game from South America and Europe that those hiding under the Umbrella to impose their will on the game and its controlling body in this land of our birth, would stop using the Minister of Youth and Sports to embarrass everybody.

Any Ghanaian has a right to challenge for positions on the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and any of its committees. But that person has to go through the right channel. He or she must be connected to football.

The person must put himself forward to the FA for nomination and election or appointment from the various organs constituting the association that runs the game on behalf of all of us.

The Umbrella might be an effective route to the Castle, spoilt ballots or not. But it should not be used as a cover to plot against those who have the mandate of the game’s directors in this country, in order for the plotters to get in through the back door.

As you read this article, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Akua Sena Dansua has written to the GFA, ordering the football controlling body to include two nominees each of the Government of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills to serve on the proposed Public Interest Committee, and the committees of the eight national football teams run by the GFA on behalf of the people of Ghana.

There are no prizes for predicting correctly that all the eight nominees are agents of the National Democratic Congress. The letter asking the FA to include adherents of the Umbrella politics on FA committees was dated November 9, 2010, and under the heading – RE: NOMINEES FOR PUBLIC INTEREST COMMITTEE (PIC) AND MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES OF NATIONAL TEAMS.

“Further to the discussions on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) ON THE Public Interest Committee (PIC), dated 23rd November, 2009, and also on our representation on other Management Committees of National Teams, I hereby formally submit the following nominees,” the letter from the Youth and sports Minister stated.

Those cited as seeking protection under the Umbrella are; Public Interest Committee – Mr. Abedi Ayew Pele – Chairman, Mr. Oteng Arthur; Black Stars Management Committee – Captain Victus Amenyedor and Mr. Tony Baffoe; Black Stars (CHAN) Management Committee – Mr. Kwabena Yeboah and Mr. William Klutse.

Those who got the nod on the Black Meteors (U23) Committee are Mr. Fred Debrah and Mr. Kofi Owusu Anokye. Mr. Emmanuel Kyeremeh and Mr. George Arthur are nominated to serve on the Satellites committee, Mr. Willie Klutse and Mr. K.B. Annan on the Starlets Committee, with Heartwill Quist and Marian Barnor on the Queens Management Committee.

Dr. (Mrs) Erika Dickson and Ms Celestine Agbozo on the Princesses Management Committee and Ms. Vida Dzormeku and Evelyn Lartey on the Maidens (Under-17) girls national team.

Following the letter from FIFA, it is my humble plea that the Minister would do the right thing. Like the withdrawal of Abedi Pele’s name in the CAF Executive Committee issue, it is my humble submission that the Minister would eat humble pie and withdraw the names of all NDC operatives she has sent to the FA.

To mix sports with politics is a dangerous proposition. Unfortunately for this nation, sports promotion appears to have been seen through the beclouded spectacles of Umbrella politics since the occupation of Government House by President Atta Mills.

The other day, when a proposal was made to include Mr. Mohammed Sahnoon, who had previously served as Chairman of the Ghana Cycling Association in the list of those administering the sport, the proposal was based on the fact that Sahnoon is the son of a sister of Dr. Kwesi Botchway, who served for several years under the Provisional National Defence Council and NDC Mark One, as Finance Minister.

Even then, the Chairman of the Ghana Cycling Association, Lee Darpoh, wrote to the Chairman of the NDC, soliciting his assistance to get the nomination annulled, on the premise that the said Mr. Sahnoon is not a core member of the NDC, and would not mount a political platform to propagate the ideas of the Umbrella.

For the avoidance of doubt, I reproduce relevant portions of the said letter to Dr. Kwabena Adjei and copied to the Chief of Staff, Minister of Youth and Sports,  Hon. Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, Chairman of Conflict Resolution and Arbitration Committee, NDC Headquarters, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Sports, and Chairman, Committee of Legal Brains, NDC Secretariat, among others.

“Sir, if Dr. Kwesi Botchwey had once been a Minister for the NDC, what is the contribution of Mohammed Sahnoon to the NDC Party. Will he mount a platform to defend and campaign for our Party and Government?

“For me, Lee Darpoh, the Chairman, Kofi Ohene Osae, the Vice-Chairman and other colleagues, the Party and Government can testify to our loyalty, commitment and dedication to the NDC and for the various roles we have played in our Better Ghana Agenda.

“Sir, should we allow Party Activists like us to be thrown out of our positions which we are already serving on? Dear Chairman, because of the LOVE and SYMPATHY we have for our Party, Government and the CYCLING SPORT, we hope you will use your good offices to help address this unfortunate problem which Hon. Nii Laryea Afortey-Agbo had already initiated.”

With this submission, we need no ghost to pronounce on the direction sport in this land of our birth is taking. It does not only offend the spirit and letter of sports promotion.

It is injurious to our health as a nation that joined the league of Middle Income Nations in the books of Dr. Grace Bediako, with retrogressive impact on the average Ghanaian.
In the next issue, I intend to dilate on President Atta Mills’ meeting with FIFA President and the press conference at the Kotoka International Airport, which led to the Ghana Football Association being hauled before the Serious Fraud Office. In all this, take note, dear reader that truth as a concept in our political evolution, is on a long leave!

*The Ebo Quansah Column appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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