Sports Features of Thu, 8 Mar 20182

Ghana football in limbo

Ghana football was thrown into turmoil last Monday after officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and Accra Great Olympics resolved to settle their dispute in court after two deliberations by both parties ended in deadlock. The situation has created creating uncertainty over the start of the Ghana Premier League and Division One League (DOL).

The two parties will thus meet in court again this month, which could be as early as Thursday, if the FA’s application for an expedited hearing of the case is granted.

Olympics have a substantive appeal which is expected to be heard at the Court of Appeal.

While the GFA insists that they abide by the ruling of Justice Anthony Yeboah and get the Premier League season started for the sake of third party interest, until a decision is reached on Olympics’ protest, representatives of the Wonder Club at the meeting were adamant, also insisting that the start of the season should remain suspended until their fate is determined, as it is unclear if they would compete in the Premier League or the DOL.

For several hours, the two parties tried to reach a compromise without success, and apparently getting frustrated by the back and forth of the discussion, the Olympics team, led by their Board Chairman and astute legal practitioner, Amarkai Amarteifio, asked that the meeting be brought to an end.

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After the meeting Mr Amarteifio explained the outcome of the deliberations to the media.

“We agreed that in the interim the league should not commence and that both parties would abide by the court decision.

We insist that the league should not resume because we do not know which division we would be playing with the resolution of the protest outstanding. We don’t believe the league should resume without us,” he said.

Olympics had proposed that acting on the advice of Justice Yeboah given during his initial ruling at the Human Rights Court, the GFA used its right to resolve the issue, by referring the matter to a judicial body to deal with, but that had not been done.

According to insiders at the match, Mr Amarteifio said that based on the advice given, the Executive Committee of the GFA could have referred the issue to the judicial body to have it dealt with and resolved, but that advice was never carried out.

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For him, the GFA had its image to think about and did not see why it should not do what is right, especially when there was no obstacle, legal or otherwise, in their way. He reportedly made it clear at the meeting that the advice for the issue to be given to a judicial body to handle was never carried out but was rather hijacked, with that advice still standing and valid.

“It is not too late for that to be done. Invite any five lawyers and empanel them as a body and refer the case to it. The case is not complicated, so it can be dealt with.

“Why is this simple advice not being carried out. What does the FA lose by being fair or being just and honourable?” Mr Amarteifio reportedly asked.

He said his fear was that the FA was trying to create a situation which would come back to haunt it in the near future. The worrying part is that it is unnecessary.

An Emergency Committee member of the FA, Kweku Ayiah, spoke on behalf of the FA after the team leader and GFA Vice President, George Afriyie, had recused himself due to his previous association with Olympics.

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After clarifications to some issues raised by the Olympics team, Mr Eyiah said the advice as the other party was requesting to implemented was not in the GFA’s regulations, so doing that could set a precedent which could see power being taken away from the judiciary bodies and then being given to the FA’s Executive Committee.

“Having considered that challenge and other scenarios, the FA decided the best scenario was to allow the case to go on in court, the league be played and the GFA would abide by the ruling of the court,” Mr Eyiah was quoted as saying.

He said as was done in the case of Tema Youth’s appeal to CAS and the subsequent ruling, the FA would not challenge the ruling of the court and was ready to even pay compensation to Olympics if that was given, as was in the instance of Tema Youth.

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