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Sports News of Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Players, officials conspired in Stars’ revolt?

The Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, Justice Senyo Dzamefe says he suspects a silent conspiracy theory might have played out in the Black Stars’ appearance fees revolt at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

He said one of two scenarios might have resulted in the controversy which made the nation a laughing stock globally after $4million was carried in a private jet to Brazil to settle the appearance fees ahead of Ghana’s last Group game with Portugal on June 26, 2014.

Conspiracy Theory

Justice Dzamefe put it to the two representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), Messrs Abudulai Yakubu and Prosper Apasu at Monday’s sitting that either the players capitalised on a system failure to hold the nation to ransom and press for more money following the ministry’s inability to firm up the appearance fees before the tournament or that some officials hid behind the players to push for the money so they could also get their share of the booty.

He, therefore, suggested to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to introduce a system whereby a code of conduct will be prepared for all national team players to sign before tournaments in order to commit them to the government, while those who are not ready can opt out.

The commission chairman also suggested that henceforth, officials who accompanied national teams should not be paid lump sums but daily allowances and also be made to sign performance contracts to enable them to push the players to produce the needed results.

Government expenditure

The chief accountant, Mr Apasu, mentioned $4,474,891.47 and GH¢1,478,250 as the total amount spent by the government on the Stars’ World Cup participation in response to a question by Commissioner Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko.

He explained that the cedi component was for the cost of air transport as stated in the GFA’s draft budget.

Asked about the mode of payment for the South Africa 2010 World Cup campaign, Mr Apasu said part of the money was carried to the team in cash, while the rest was transferred.

GFA’s contribution

He also revealed that it was the GFA which paid all the expenses of the Stars’ Amsterdam-Washington-Rio de Janeiro detour.

He also emphasised before the commission that the salary of the Stars coach was the responsibility of the FA and not the government.

“It is the GFA which pays the national team coach. The government doesn’t pay anything. The government doesn’t pay the salaries of any of the national team coaches,” Mr Apasu stressed.

Request for more documents

Upon request by Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mr Apasu promised to furnish the commission with the relevant documents covering airfare, per diem, winning bonus, accommodation, medicals, preparatory matches and other expenses such as officials’ trip to the World Cup draw from 2006 to date.

In an answer to a question by the Senior State Attorney, Mr Jonathan Acquah as to the number of the committees which were formed in preparation for the World Cup, the Chief Director of the MOYS, Abudulai Yakubu, listed the six committees.

They are Protocol, Supporters and Welfare chaired by Mr Kojo Adu Asare, Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts headed by Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, Marketing chaired by Joel Nettey, Events, Grounds and Logistics by Horace Ankrah, Media chaired by Ackah Anthony, and Health, Sanitation, Safety and Security which had Alhaji Saeed Lartey as chairman.

He said the various committees reported directly to the World Cup Secretariat headed by Fred Darko, who is scheduled to appear before the commission, alongside the former Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah tomorrow.

He noted that all the committee members were paid sitting allowance and promised to furnish the commission with the details, as well as all the bank lodgements for their operations.

Reasons for in-camera sittings

Prior to Monday’s hearing, Moses Foh-Amoaning explained that though the commission was supposed to sit in public per the Constitutional provision, the reason why it continued to take some of the evidence in camera was to protect public morality, public safety and public order.

He pointed out that all evidence taken in camera were recorded and taken under oath just like the public sittings.