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Soccer News of Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

How Kotoko lost six points after fielding unqualified player

Accra Hearts of Oak received the biggest relief of their troubled season after the GFA’s Disciplinary Committee declared them winners of their 25h week Premier League clash against arch-rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko which they lost 2-1 on August 2 at the Accra Stadium.

The boardroom verdict threw Kotoko into the middle of a raging relegation dogfight for fielding an unqualified player, in the person of Obed Owusu.

The disciplinary committee yesterday upheld Hearts’ protest and awarded the Phobians with three points and three goals to give them a huge boost, leaping from the 15th position to the seventh on the league log.

Kotoko were, thus, ducked six points losing three points and three goals from the Hearts match and a further three from their accumulated points as sanctions per the FA regulations — and subsequently plunging the defending champions from third place to second from bottom ahead of only already relegated BA United.

Meanwhile, Kotoko officials have given the strongest possible hint they would appeal against the ruling and even seek redress in court.

The disciplinary committee ruling further slapped Kotoko with a fine of GHC5,000, half of which will go to Hearts.

In its ruling, the committee also explained that it was baffled by the conscious effort Kotoko made to ensure that Owusu supposedly served his suspension in a match (Elite Cup) which, on a cursory reading of the relevant provisions, did not constitute an official match.

“Having found that Obed Owusu was unqualified to play against Hearts of Oak, the next question is to decide the consequences that follow from the act of Kotoko in fielding that unqualified player.

“The consequences of fielding an unqualified player are spelt out in Article 34 (1) (e) of the GFA General Regulations as leading to a forfeiture of the match played by the team which fielded the unqualified player, pursuant to a protest,” it said in the ruling released yesterday.

“Article 34(2) mandatorily requires that no matter the scores at the end of the match in question, the team which fielded an unqualified player shall be considered as having lost the match and three points and three goals shall be awarded in favour of the innocent team, unless the innocent team is leading by more than three goals at the time of the offence in which case the scores will stand.

“Three points and three goals are further required by Article 34(5) (a) to be deducted from the total accumulated points of the defaulting club. A fine of GHC5,000 is also to be imposed if default was in respect of the Premier League.

“The committee has no option but to apply the various punishments specified by the GFA Regulations. Accordingly, Hearts of Oak is awarded three points and three goals in respect of its 25th Week Premier League Match played against Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

Three points and Three goals are also deducted from the total accumulated points of Kotoko in the Premier League”, the committee concluded.