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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Columnist: Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo

Let there be order!

Opinion Opinion

For the first time, I informally submit to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) a proposal on a subject which is causing the local soccer governing body a lot of harm for deliberation at its November 9 Ordinary Congress at Prampram. It is about the tendency of washing the FA’s dirty linen in public by some key officials who are supposed to know better.

During the recent GFA Executive Committee elections, I overheard some of the candidates saying among other things that their vision was to repair the FA’s image, suggesting that president Kwesi Nyantakyi and his newly-elected 21-member team have a job to do in that regard. Truth be told, the GFA has a lot to do to win back the confidence and trust of Ghanaians in the next four years.

That, for me, must include a change of attitude by some club officials and Executive members as well. A typical example is the manner in which some club officials behaved themselves during the recent legal battle between Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko over the eligibility of player Obed Owusu.

Though the impasse might be far from over, I think some comments from both camps have dented the FA right from the Disciplinary Committee stage to the aftermath of the Appeals Committee’s ruling on the same case last week. It is high time club officials and their ilk understood that branding any FA operative or sub-committee as being corrupt is as casting a slur on the entire GFA.

At a time club officials were engaging in accusations and counter-accusations on radio over the biased ruling or otherwise by the two GFA legal bodies on the same matter, little did they realise that they were embarrassing themselves and the GFA.

For God’s sake, members of both the Disciplinary Committee and the Appeals Committee were appointed by the GFA Executive (ExCo) and are thus answerable to them.
If so, why don’t these club operatives forward any such grievances to the ExCo for redress, but rather resort to the media for arbitration. Surely, that will be a recipe for chaos.

And whenever order breaks down, respect for authority is compromised, resulting in a jungle situation where only the fittest survives. One cannot wish such a situation for even his enemy.

If I may ask, what do those club officials wish to gain when they resort to trying their cases in the media instead of respecting their own dispute resolution mechanisms as enshrined in the GFA Statutes?

Obviously, such practices cannot be good examples any association would be proud of. I deemed it to be quite unfortunate when a Kotoko official accused the chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of being biased because of his so-called affiliation with Hearts.

In the same vein, some Hearts officials went personal after the Appeals Committee ruling as if to reply their bitter rivals in the heat of that crossfire. Clearly, these are unhealthy practices which I expect Congress to take a critical look at as part of efforts to purge the GFA.

Unfortunately, my brother Wilfred Osei Kwaku Palmer felt into the same trap a week ago when he decided to try a case which is being heard by the FA’s legal bodies on radio. What makes Palmer’s case even more disturbing is the fact he is an ExCo member who has been given the mandate for another four-year term.

As a top GFA member and a policy maker for that matter, a lot is expected of him to set the right examples for others to follow. Granted that Tema Youth have a good case against newly-promoted Dreams FC over the status of the banned player, Kudjoe Mensah/Daniel Gozar, what stopped him from exhausting the GFA’s dispute resolution mechanisms available to him and any other aggrieved party instead of seeking public sympathy much against the interest of his own association?

This is expecially so when he had not yet exhausted all the legal options available to him at the FA, let alone consider seeking redress at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) as he threatened to do.

The above scenarios clearly indicate that some members of the GFA don’t trust their own system. And that, for me, is quite worrying and needs to be addressed with dispatch. Otherwise, the GFA will be fast asleep in the comfort of their bedroom while its legs are seriously exposed in public.

A word to the wise...