Saturday, 13 September 2014

How Ghana's 2014 FIFA World Cup Presidential Commission Can Outflank The GFA

There is no question that many football fans in Ghana are glad that President Mahama  set up a presidential commission to look into Ghana's participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.

 Those of us who initially advocated that that be done,  immediately after the debacle in Brazil, are certainly glad that the powers that be did so - and what shocking revelations there have been, thus far, at the public sittings of that commission.

For many taxpayers in Ghana, it is intolerable that whiles it has been happy to accept money from the national treasury over the years, the Ghana Football Association (GFA), has been quick to hide behind so-called "rules of FIFA"  (to use the French acronym for the French version of the organisation's English name, International Federation of Football Associations), to stop outsiders from conducting any investigations into its affairs.

Yet, there is a need to ensure that the GFA does not use its control of football in Ghana to misuse hapless Ghanaian taxpayers' money doled out to it by the government. Who, for example, will pay for that mercenary Serbian coach's salary, one wonders - taxpayers or the sly and opaque GFA?

(The shabby and disgraceful treatment meted out to the just-dismissed Black Stars coach, Kwesi Appiah, is rock-solid evidence of the GFA's perfidy, incidentally. Hopefully,  Kwesi Appiah will sue them in the law courts for breach of contract. Dismissing him for "bad faith" when he was only speaking the truth about a blatant lie the GFA wanted kept secret - that Kwesi Appiah had agreed to accept a technical director when he had not - is against natural justice and an abuse of his human right to speak out boldly: when confronted with an unacceptable and immoral conspiracy to foist a lie on the general public. In that instance, it was the GFA conspirators that showed bad faith, not Kwesi Appiah. He would be wise to appear before the commission to give them an insider's view of the shennanigens in the GFA, to help clean up the administration of soccer in Ghana. But I digress.)

 It is therefore vital that members of the presidential commission enquiring into the events surrounding Ghana's senior men's national soccer team's participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the actions and inactions of those who organised it, ensure, when writing their final report, that based on their recommendations, in future no individual or groups of individuals can misuse taxpayers' money, in organising Ghana's participation in such international soccer tournaments.

To do so, they must set out in detail, precisely what kind of relationship  the government ought to have with the GFA - to guide all future allocations of taxpayers' money for Ghana's various national soccer teams to participate in tournaments organised by FIFA and its affiliate, the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

 Since the GFA is clearly unwilling to allow outsiders to investigate its finances, if they can get away with it, the presidential commission would be wise to talk to the English Football Association (FA) - between which, and Sep Blatter's FIFA, there is  little love lost, incidentally.

The English FA will happily provide the presidential commission's members with all the information they require about its financial relationship, if any, with the UK government. Who pays England's coach's salary,  for example? Ditto airline tickets for England's players and technical team when playing FIFA World Cup qualfyinfg matches abroad - the FA or the UK government?

And it will also give them a breakdown of  all the funds they receive regularly from FIFA, for the development of the game in England. Ditto its (group-stage) share of the profits that FIFA distributed as prize money, out of the US$567 million it set aside for that purpose, to all the participating teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in  Brazil. (What, for example, is their opinion about a national team's "management committee" members allocating "appearance fees" given to the players participating in  a FIFA World Cup tournament to themselves too? They would be horrified to hear that that was the case for Ghana's senior men's national soccer team in the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, no doubt. But again, I digress.)

By talking to the English FA, the presidential commission looking into the events surrounding Ghana's participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil, will be able to protect the interest of taxpayers when writing their final report,  and ensure that Ghanaian government officials and the GFA, do not misuse funds allocated by the government for Ghana's participation in international football tournament matches, going forward.

In other words, the presidential commission investigating events surrounding Ghana's participation in  the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil, can outflank the GFA, by talking directly to the English FA about the exact nature of its financial relationship with the UK government.

It can also discover from the English FA, what funds FIFA allocates to national football associations, if any, and for what purposes those funds are for - by asking them all the questions they would have wanted to ask the GFA but feel unable to, because it hides behind so-called FIFA "rules and regulations".

Ghanaians are fed up to the backteeth with the fact that no one in this country seems able to investigate allegations of corrupt practices in the GFA. Enough is enough. The presidential commission ought to talk to the English FA as soon as practicable. The GFA must be outflanked to discover the truth about its finances - and to find out whether or not it is taking Ghanaian taxpayers for a gigantic ride.  A word to the wise...

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