Ghanaweb can exclusively reveal that Asante Kotoko is not facing a league demotion in their raging legal tussle with Tunisian side Esperance as has been reported in sections of the media.
Over the last couple of days, there have been several media reports that Kotoko risk being removed from Ghana’s top-flight league if they fail to pay $240,000 fine imposed on them by FIFA for illegally and dubiously signing Emmanuel Clottey in 2015.
According to FIFA, Kotoko signed Clottey when the player had a running and binding contract with the Tunisian football giants.
Kotoko have been given up to May 10 to settle the debt to Esperance or face severe consequences. However, the sanctions do not include a demotion from the Ghana Premier League.
According to documents sighted by Ghanaweb, Kotoko will suffer a transfer ban, both locally and internationally, if they don’t pay the fine.
According to the ruling done on April 9, FIFA said:
“If payment is not made to the Creditor and proof of such a payment is not provided to the secretariat to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and to the Ghana Football Association by this deadline:
a) a ban from registering new players, either nationally or internationally, will be imposed on Debtor II. Once the deadline has expired, the transfer ban will be implemented automatically at national and international level by the Ghana Football Association and FIFA respectively, without a further formal decision having to be taken nor any order to be issued by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee or its secretariat. The transfer ban shall cover all men eleven-a-side teams of the Debtor – first team and youth categories –. Debtor II shall be able to register new players, either nationally or internationally, only upon the payment to the Creditor of the total outstanding amount. In particular, Debtor II may not make use of the exception and the provisional measures stipulated in article 6 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players in order to register players at an earlier stage.
b) the Creditor may demand, in writing to the secretariat of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, that the matter be resubmitted to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee so that a ban on taking part in any kind of football-related activity be imposed on the Debtor I.
Clottey, a former Great Olympics and Berekum Chelsea striker, signed for Asante Kotoko in 2015 but would soon have his status challenged at the world football governing body, FIFA, by Esperance, who claimed to have a running contract with the player at the time he signed for the Porcupines.
FIFA slapped a $180,000 fine on Emmanuel Clottey for a breach of contract, but it has since remained a legal tussle between Esperance and Asante Kotoko, because Emmanuel Clottey prayed to an Accra High Court in 2019 to compel the Porcupine Warriors to settle the fine imposed on him by FIFA.
Kotoko failure to pay the initial fine in 2015 is what has angered FIFA after Esperance told the World Football governing body that the verdict passed by the Dispute Resolution Chamber on 11 June 2015 has still not been respected.
According to the latest FIFA ruling:
The player Emmanuel Clottey (hereinafter, Debtor I) and the club Asante Kotoko FC (hereinafter, Debtor II) are found guilty of failing to comply with the decision passed by the Dispute Resolution Chamber on 11 June 2015, according to which the Debtor I was ordered to pay to the club Esperance Sportive de Tunis (hereinafter, the Creditor) the amount of USD 180,000, plus 5% interest p.a. to be calculated in accordance with the abovementioned decision. Debtor II is jointly and severally liable for the payment of the abovementioned amount.
Deep cracks in Kotoko
Since the latest decision by FIFA, deep cracks have emerged in the cam of Kotoko with past and present administrators apportioning blame.
The CEO of the club in 2015, Opoku Nti has failed to accept responsibility, blaming the current Executive Chairman for the situation.
Opoku Nti argues that the issue at hand was included in the handing over notes he presented to the new administration when he was taking over.
He insists that if the current officials did their job as expected the case wouldn’t have exploded to its current state.
“It’s mandatory for any outgoing management to do a handing over to the incoming administration so I did as it is. George Kennedy and I gave the handing over notes to Dr Kyei. Clottey’s issue was part including Dr Kwaku Frimpong’s debt. “I will be disappointed to hear from Dr Kwame Kyei saying he wasn’t aware of Clottey’s issue. Dr Kyei never called me on the phone before.
There are a few times I tried calling him but with no answer," he added. A member of that administration has similarly lashed out at current Executive Chairman, Kwame Kyei for not following a payment arrangement that had already been prepared by his predecessor.
Edmund Ackah holds that Kyei’s disregard for advice on the legal issue is what must be blamed for the fine.