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Sports News of Thursday, 30 August 2018

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com

Black Stars AFCON qualifier against Kenya to go ahead as Ghana escapes FIFA ban

Ghana has been given the all-clear to play in next month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya after FIFA lifted the threat of a ban on the country on Wednesday.

The lifting of the threat means the Black Stars can play the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying games, including against Kenya on September 8 in Nairobi.

Ghana were in danger of forfeiting next month's qualifier against Kenya because of a looming FIFA ban after the government's interference in the sport.

The government tried to dissolve the soccer federation after officials were implicated in bribery and corruption by an undercover reporter.

FIFA warned the Ghana government to withdraw the court action seeking to dissolve the Ghana Football Association by 27 August, 2018 or face its wrath.

Government fully complied by the FIFA order by Tuesday when it withdrew the court action to dissolve the federation, leading the governing body to lift the threat of a ban.

With the FIFA deadline expiring, government's failure to discontinue the court action to dissolve the Ghana FA would have resulted in a ban from international football.

If government failed to withdraw the case by Monday, 27 August, the Black Stars Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya in Nairobi on 8 September would have been awarded to the Harambee Stars.

Failing to play the match would have resulted in Ghana losing subsequent matches which means the Black Stars would have been unable qualify for the tournament to be held in Cameroon in June 2019.

The Black Stars are tipped as one of the favourites for the competition with President Nana Akufo Addo keen on helping the team to lift the trophy to end the 37 title drought.

The court action is deemed to be government interference in the sport as the laws of FIFA prohibit governments from interfering in the activities of football federations.

Football in the country came to a halt in June after an Accra High Court granted an application by the Attorney General to enable government dissolve the local football governing body.

The Attorney General headed following an explosive revelation by investigative journalist Anas Armeyaw where some officials and referees were allegedly caught on tape taking bribes.

FIFA says it will work with the government and African soccer authorities to set up an interim panel overseeing fresh GFA elections by the end of March.

FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi resigned, and is being investigated by FIFA's ethics committee for allegedly accepting a $65,000 cash gift.

Members of the interim management panel must first pass a FIFA integrity check.