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Opinions of Thursday, 23 August 2018

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

Ghana did not capitulate - President’s call and solid argument did it

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has been engaged in Ghana’s football crisis from the beginning and even had a personal telephone discussion with President of FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino on possible ways forward.

The FIFA/CAF Liaison Team put in place by FIFA and the Ghana Government also made very cogent points in its report to FIFA and CAF to support the formation of a Normalisation Committee.

Here is Dr Kofi Amoah’s letter to FIFA and CAF:

Dear FIFA and CAF, Please kindly accept warm greetings from the Ghana Liaison Team set up by your good selves in agreement with the Government of Ghana on July 3, 2018

The attached document is a report on our activities so far on Ghana's football affairs.

The Liaison Team has approached its work cautiously and methodically, being cognisant of the gravity and depth of disappointment, disgust and disbelief that has been expressed by the football-passionate citizens of Ghana after the viewing of the video dubbed: Number 12, where Greed and Corruption Become the Norm by the investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

We, therefore, engaged the mandate given to us by FIFA/CAF/GOG and especially the instructions from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that whatever reforms are necessary to help normalise, energise and strengthen Ghana's football enterprise, they must be undertaken with the highest respect and compliance to FIFA and CAF statutes and regulations.

"We want to undertake our reforms under the FIFA/CAF umbrella," he decreed.

To be effective, however, in calming waters and establishing the spirit of cooperation and camaraderie among the football community (club owners and administrators, players and technical staff, referees, fans, etc.), we had to craft winnable and effective strategies that took into consideration the key conditions that had conspired to bring Ghana football to its knees, i.e.

(a) Extremely low attendance at local football matches resulting in paltry ticket sales. The games have become unentertaining to watch in the stadia or on television

(b) Corporate sponsorship and advertisement revenues have dwindled and left the league clubs and their players uninspired and uninspiring.

(c) Due to the above, several clubs have been struggling financially in covering operational expenses and indispensable capital expenditures that are necessary to promote growth

(d) Some local clubs were now focused on selling their best players to foreign clubs as the major revenue source. This practice had gone on for such a long time that dreams and aspirations of budding young football players were pinned on the hope and chance of being traded to a foreign club.

(e) Refereeing of matches had become corrupted and as such undermined the holy grail of the better club of the day winning a match on the playing field and not winning through the shenanigans of a corrupt referee.

A big shame was meted out to the nation during the 2014 Brazil World Cup when $3 million had to be airlifted from Ghana to Brazil to pay the appearance and bonus fees of footballers and their handlers who threatened not to play their World Cup matches without the cash.

Ghana became the butt of jokes and ridicule. A commission of enquiry was set up by the ruling government at the time and the committee's report was shelved and the public felt angry and helpless. The level of corruption and maladministration of Ghana's football had reached its bottom's bottom!

It is under these debilitating conditions and the lack of hope for a better football future that the Anas "corruption" video emerged.

Now the anger is in the open, the need for reform is not debatable and Ghana is appealing to the good conscience of FIFA and CAF, and for the understanding of helping to restore and energise the football of Ghana, a pillar of the African football with her "high life" brand, and when accomplished, and they surely can, the story of how Ghana football woke up, 'a la the story of the Belgians, the Croatians, and even the mighty Germany’ that had to reform and restructure its football can be told loudly and proudly at a future World Cup event;under the brazen and respected FIFA flag and the pioneering Ghana flag of red, gold and green with its black star beckoning!

What a wonderful story this will be, and what pride and credit FIFA and CAF can claim for being understanding when understanding and flexibility were needed most.

Please hear Ghana's plea for reform and the need to form a Normalisation Committee.

The FIFA/CAF Liaison Team is appreciative of the confidence placed in them, and we promise to do our best with our mandate.

With all best wishes

Dr Kofi Amoah
Chairman
FIFA/CAF/Liason Team