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Sports News of Friday, 8 August 2014

Source: James Abugri

FIFA to ban Ghana over Presidential Commission

FIFA has warned Ghana that a Commission to investigate the GFA and delve into issues bothering on the competence and administration of football in the country is inappropriate and could lead to sanctions if the government goes ahead with the Commission per its terms of reference.

In a strongly worded letter to the GFA, FIFA stated that the commission is not the appropriate body to carry out such investigations, insisting that the GFA’s Congress is the only competent body to undertake such an exercise.

The World governing body warned that it will have no option than to ban Ghana from international football if the three man commission goes ahead to carry out an investigation per its current terms of reference.

In the letter dated 7th August, 2014, signed by Deputy General Secretary of FIFA, Markus Kattner, the FIFA warned the country to stay clear of interfering in the affairs of the GFA and to respect the autonomy of the FA or risk sanctions from the body.

“In particular, we take note of the terms of reference of the Commission which are - according to the aforementioned correspondence and amongst others - "to inquire into matters relating to the preparation of the Ghana Black Stars team for the tournament and possible lapses which might have caused the early exit of the team from the tournament; to inquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament and; all other matters of public interest concerning the organisation of Ghana Black Stars' participation in the tournament that is the FIFA World Cup 2014".

These are issues which are strictly in the competence of GFA. Thus, the competent body to discuss these issues should be the GFA Congress, and not any outside body.

Moreover, we refer to the power that the Commission would have to remove any member of the Executive Committee or the President of the GFA in case of adverse findings. In this regard, we would like to remind you that all FIFA member associations have to manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties as clearly stipulated in articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes. Therefore and should any decision be rendered by the Commission against GFA officials thereby removing them from office, it would be considered as interference in the GFA affairs and the case would be brought to FIFA's higher instances for appropriate sanctions.”, the letter read.

FIFA however acknowledged the need for its Member Associations to be held accountable to their national governments for the use of public funds but also reminded government that since the GFA does not receive public funds directly, it was out of place to seek accountability from the FA.

"According to the information that you have provided to us in your letter dated 4 August 2014, we understand that GFA does not receive public funding for its work and that public funds allocated to the national team are managed by representatives of the government of the Republic of Ghana. As such, the officials that would be competent to account for the usage of public funds do not appear to be those of the GFA."

Ghana now faces a high risk of missing out on next year’s African Cup of Nations in Morocco should FIFA go ahead to impose sanctions on the country as qualification for the continental showpiece commences on September 6th, four weeks from today.

A FIFA ban will also throw out all the national teams from FIFA or CAF organized competitions including the female under-20 team, the Black Princesses which is currently participating in the Women’s World Under 20 Tournament in Canada. A ban will also prevent Ghanaian club sides from participating in the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup competitions.

The John Mahama administration last month set up a commission of inquiry to delve into matters relating to the ill-fated Brazil 2014 appearance of the Black Stars and among others tasked the three member commission to investigate the preparation of the Black Stars for the tournament and the management of the team, areas FIFA consider as interference with the work of the local football authority.

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