Thursday, 27 July 2017

Should FIFA Provide A List Of All Its Payments To The GFA Since 1958?

It is obvious to many aficianados of the game of soccer in this country that if it is to thrive in Ghana it ought to be run by those who themselves once played at the highest levels of the game globally.

Any keen observer of the soccer scene in today's Ghana will confirm that the "beautiful game" that is loved by millions in this country is being ruthlessly exploited by a greedy and selfish few - determined to enrich themselves at society's expense: through  their membership of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

The time has now come for the media in Ghana to demand that the Swiss Federal Police authorities help to allay the suspicions of many Ghanaian soccer lovers that somehow money from the global headquarters of the governing body for football, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa), is finding its way into private pockets of some members of a mafia  that controls the GFA.

This suspicion might be pure nonsense for all we know - and it might even be the case that those who lead the GFA are angels on earth. Possibly. Who knows?

The proliferation of betting companies in Ghana has also been linked by some Ghanaians to the allegations of the manipulation of football league matches by some officials and club owners - amidst accusations of match-fixing.

Again it might very well be that there is actually no connection between the betting companies operating in Ghana and the allegations of match-fixing.

Whatever be the case, the Swiss Federal police authorities must demand that Fifa provides it with a list of all monies paid to the GFA since Ghana joined Fifa in 1958 for onward transmission to Ghana. That is the only way to clear the air about the allegations of monies paid to the GFA by Fifa ending up in private pockets.

As an example of the dereliction of their fiduciary duty to protect the GFA's funds and use it solely to develop the game of soccer in Ghana, today, we have republished a blog post from 14th November, 2015 - in which we demanded that the GFA refunds the sum of U.S.$300,000 said to be "internally generated funds" paid out as bonuses to members of the GFA.

Please read on:

"Saturday, 14 November 2015
The Ghana Football Association Must Retrieve All The US$15,000 Per Person Ex Gratia Payments Recently Made To Some Of Its Members

The State, through the Registrar General's Department, grants the non-profit status of a company limited by guarantee for use as a special purpose vehicle, to enable sincere and capable individuals  to engage in charitable activities, which will benefit society generally - without risking their personal wealth in the process.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA), was granted the status of a company limited by guarantee,  to enable those who run it to organise the game of soccer in such a manner that it will be accessible to and benefit all lovers of the game in Ghana - at both the amateur and professional levels: as players; match officials; club technical team members; club members and supporters; club owners; etc., etc.

Although some might say it is a moot point, it could be successfully argued that with the exception of the GFA's paid employees, none of its members, who after all volunteer their services freely to the GFA - presumably because of their love and passion  for the game - are supposed to benefit substantially, financially, from the GFA's funds.

At best, they are only entitled to sitting allowances for attending GFA meetings, and to per diems when travelling locally and abroad on the GFA's behalf, like the members of  similar voluntary organisations across the globe,  are.

It matters not a whit where those GFA funds originate from: be they from the government of Ghana; Fifa; sponsorship deals; or,  "the GFA's own internally generated funds" - a cynical phrase deployed by the morally bankrupt individuals amongst those now running the GFA, to justify the blatant siphoning off of GFA funds into private pockets, which they deviously labelled  "ex gratia payments" to deceive Ghanaians.

The question is: can the GFA, a company limited by guarantee to develop and promote the game of soccer nationwide - and therefore an entity that ought to have an element of the public interest ethos underpinning all its disbursement of funds - lawfully distribute its "internally generated funds" to the tune of some US$15,000 per person, to a number of its members as "ex gratia payments" totalling US$300,000; instead of using it to develop and promote  the game of soccer across Ghana, as it is mandated to, by law?

I submit that any charitable organisation - such as one set up to run an orphanage for example - that distributes its internally generated funds as ex gratia payments to any of its retiring members instead of using it for the benefit of the children in the orphanage, would have its charitable status swiftly withdrawn: and all those who distributed and benefited from the sharing out of any such internally generated funds prosecuted and jailed for fraud.

So should it be the case with the GFA, too. The GFA, surprising though it might be to some of its smug and more arrogant members, is not actually above the laws of our country.

Those ex gratia payments amount to making disloyal payments - a crime elsewhere: which is why the Swiss police investigating Fifa are also focusing on all such payments made by Fifa.

That is why those who now run  the GFA had better retrieve the US$15,000 per person ex gratia payments paid out to a number of its members from the GFA's internally generated funds  - and apply the total amount of US$330,000 involved to the development of youth soccer instead: perhaps in  junior and senior level secondary schools across Ghana, for example.

If they refuse to retrieve those unlawfully paid out sums one hopes that some of the GFA's many critics will approach public interest law NGOs (such as the Centre for Public Interest Law) to take the GFA to court - for misusing money that should be used to develop and promote soccer in Ghana: by doling it out as ex gratia payments to some of its members. Monstrous."

End of blog post from 14th November, 2015.
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