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Opinions of Monday, 3 December 2018

Columnist: Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane

Kennedy Agyapong: The man who was offside but never knew it

Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central

Sometimes I try to imagine a world without sports and athletics. No matter how hard I try, I still can't dream about one without it. The feeling of ecstasy it provides is something one has to experience at least once in his or her lifetime; that's what soccer does to me. Not forgetting the rush of adrenaline that makes us do the things we thought we would not ordinarily do especially when our various teams score. You could find one person carrying another or giving each other hugs in the spirit of euphoria.

Football is more than a sport; it is a language we all speak. The rules here, are the rules everywhere and they should apply in each game that is played - World Cup or not. There is no doubt that decisions made by referees do not only affect the team but can affect the mood of spectators and even a country (usually, if it is during a World Cup).

FIFA has had its own fair share of scandals despite their sermon on fair play.

I think one of the biggest scandals (if not the biggest) ever to hit the world of football is the Number 12 exposé by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas who brought to our attention the games those alleged corrupt football officials (including referees) were playing with our hearts.

The job of a referee is highly esteemed in the world of football. The referee is the judge of who is in the wrong and who did right by the rules of the game. Before the advent of the Video Assistant Referee and Goal-Line Technology, the referee was the oracle. So, assuming a player was offside and scored a goal, it would not matter whether it was offside in the eyes of the fans or not once the referee did not acknowledge it as an offside goal. It puts a lot of teams at a disadvantage because everything was left at the referee's discretion. So, if the referee did not see it, much less acknowledge it, that was it.

In the same vein, I believe before Mr. Anas decided to leave an imprint from his investigative boots in the football world, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi and friends might have thought their words were so final they could take over the whole country. In this case, Mr. Anas was not the referee but the twelfth player (a substitute/spectator) just that no one saw him. He saw something wrong with the way football was being run in Africa as a whole and the fact that victory could be bought provided you could name your price.

Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi and his cohorts were offside and Mr.Anas decided to bring it to the attention of the authorities so the evidence provided via VAR/Goal-Line Technology helped rule against Mr.Nyantakyi.

However, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong who was not even in the game to begin with thought otherwise and called for the man who was looking to preserve the sanctity of the game to be arrested.

And what was his offence? He claimed Mr. Anas exhibited professional misconduct. He went forward to write a complaint letter dated July 5, 2018 addressing it to the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council for legal action to be taken against him.

Mr Agyapong had a rude shock of his life at the GLC when he told the distinguished panel judges that if they would not bring Anas to book he would take the law into his own hands and remove his mask. The panel dealt with him by telling him he would immediately be arrested and prosecuted if he dared touch Anas. A quick reminder to him that it was a place for facts and not a place to blow hot air like he does on his radio station. He was asked to sit down which he did quietly with his tail between his legs.

Despite all this, Mr. Agyapong continues to insist that Anas entraps people. However, I beg to differ; how do you set someone up with a bribe if they do not take bribes?

If it is something they have done before or are fond of doing, they are more likely to fall with the slightest temptation. I believe a similar thing happened in the Kwesi Nyantakyi vs Tiger Eye game.

Besides, a sting operation is a recognized form of investigation which is used even by the FBI and CIA. The last time I looked it up, there was no law that stated that this was a crime.

Mr. Nyantakyi was offside and someone needed to bring it to FIFA's attention but not without evidence. So, Anas decided to make his hidden cameras the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which would serve as lawful evidence.

Anas is a man of the law. Not that he can do no wrong but in the eyes of the law he is innocent of everything he has been accused of. The only crime he ever committed was putting his life on the line so that he could contribute to the fight against ending corruption in his own country and the world at large.
There have been many threats on his life notwithstanding the threats to unmask him. But just as Anas would say : "The evidence you are looking for is not written on my face."

Mr.Kennedy Agyapong has leveled all kinds of accusations against Anas without being able to prove even one. It was obvious he wanted to try to play by a different set of rules but forgot that evidence is the name of the game in the court of law. It is no surprise that this man with a Ghc25million-lawsuit hanging over his head was offside and irrespective of his position of power, someone needs to call him to order.

Today, I have just read Anas addressed the AU summit and some months back he had a similar encounter with the United Nations. I am looking forward to the day Mr.Agyapong would get it straight that Anas cannot be destroyed. He is a global icon who has left a solid footprint on the African continent and the world as a whole. I want to remember Kennedy for something but all I see is a man shouting at the top of his voice on radio that Anas must be hanged. I wonder what the rest of the youth think about the Assin Fosu MP.

By: Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane