Doubts Over GFA-Brazil Probe

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…FIFA Cries Immunity

World football governing body, FIFA, has moved closer to sanctioning Ghana over perceived attempts by the government to interfere with the autonomy of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

This is contained in a second letter dispatched from FIFA Headquarters in Zurich and sent to Ghana.

The letter, which kicks against moves by the government to use the recently inaugurated Presidential Commission to delve into issues which border on the competence and autonomy of the GFA, was signed by the Deputy General Secretary of FIFA, Markus Kattner and dated August 7, 2014.

“In particular, we take note of the terms of reference of the Commission which are – ‘to inquire into matters relating to the preparation of the Ghana Black Stars team for the tournament and possible lapses which might have caused the early exit of the team from the tournament; to inquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament and; all other matters of public interest concerning the organisation of Ghana Black Stars’ participation in the tournament that is the FIFA World Cup
2014.

“These are issues which are strictly in the competence of GFA. Thus the competent body to discuss these issues should be the GFA Congress, and not any outside body, FIFA contends.

“Moreover, we refer to the power that the Commission would have to remove any member of the Executive Committee or the President of the GFA in case of adverse findings. In this regard, we would like to remind you that all FIFA member associations have to manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties as clearly stipulated in Articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes. Therefore and should any decision be rendered by the Commission against GFA officials thereby removing them from office, it would be considered as interference in the GFA affairs and the case would be brought to FIFA’s higher instances for appropriate sanctions. ”, the letter reads.

Sports Minister, Mahama Ayariga, recently inaugurated a three-member Commission to delve into the factors that led to the first round elimination of the Black Stars at the 2014 World Cup.

The commission, was among others tasked with the following terms of reference – “to enquire into matters relating to Ghana’s Black Stars
team’s preparations for the tournament and possible lapses therein which might have caused their early exit from the tournament; to enquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament; to inquire into matters relating to Ghana’s treatment of Ghanaian football fans who were sent to support the Black Stars by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and to inquire into all other related matters of public interest concerning the organization of Ghana’s Black Stars’ participation in the tournament”

FIFA in its letter, however, reaffirmed its position that Member Associations ought to account to their national governments for the use of public funds but indicated that since the GFA did not receive public funds directly from the government, it was inappropriate for government to seek accounts from officials of the GFA

“According to the information that you have provided to us in your letter dated 4 August 2014, we understand that GFA does not receive public funding for its work and that public funds allocated to the national team are managed by representatives of the government of the Republic of Ghana. As such, the officials that would be competent to account for the usage of public funds do not appear to be those of the GFA. “

The current impasse threatens Ghana’s participation at the next African Cup of Nations in Morocco as a sanction will prevent the nation from taking part in the final qualifying phase for the tournament which is scheduled to begin on 5th September against Uganda.

Any FIFA sanction will also affect all other national teams participating in FIFA or CAF organized competitions as well as Ghanaian club sides who are scheduled to participate in the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederations Cup.

FIFA was confident however in the concluding paragraph of its letter that the GFA will be able to reach an understanding with the commission which will respect the autonomy of the GFA and urged the FA to keep FIFA updated on further developments.

Below is the full letter from FIFA….

FACSIMILE
Ghana Football Association (GFA) Mr Emmanuel Gyimah
Ag. General Secretary

Fax.: +223/302 666 697

Zurich, 7 August 2014
DSG/tre/alg
Commission of Enquiry into Black Stars performance at the FIFA World Cup 2014

Dear Ag. General Secretary,

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 4 August 2014 with regard to the establishment of a commission of enquiry into Black Stars performance at the FIFA World Cup 2014 (hereinafter referred to as “the Commission”) and we have duly taken note of its content.

In particular, we take note of the terms of reference of the Commission which are – according to the aforementioned correspondence and amongst others – “to inquire into matters relating to the preparation of the Ghana Black Stars team for the tournament and possible lapses which might have caused the early exit of the team from the tournament; to inquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament and; all other matters of public interest concerning the organisation of Ghana Black Stars’ participation in the tournament that is the FIFA World Cup 2014”.

These are issues which are strictly in the competence of GFA. Thus the competent body to discuss these issues should be the GFA Congress, and not any outside body.

Moreover, we refer to the power that the Commission would have to remove any member of the Executive Committee or the President of the GFA in case of adverse findings. In this regard, we would like to remind you that all FIFA member associations have to manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties as clearly stipulated in articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes.

Therefore and should any decision be rendered by the Commission against GFA officials thereby removing them from office, it would be considered as interference in the GFA affairs and the case would be brought to FIFA’s higher instances for appropriate sanctions.

Notwithstanding the above, we would like to respectfully remind you that FIFA encourages its Member Associations (MAs) to engage in constructive dialogue with their respective national governments in order to develop football throughout the country by means of a coordinated and concerted effort. Furthermore we acknowledge that MAs must be held accountable to their national governments for the use of public funds.

However, MAs are also requested to present annual accounts to their Congress for funds received from FIFA, their Confederation and sponsors. The consolidated annual account of an MA must therefore be submitted to and approved by its Congress.

According to the information that you have provided to us in your letter dated 4 August 2014, we understand that GFA does not receive public funding for its work and that public funds allocated to the national team are managed by representatives of the government of the Republic of Ghana. As such, the officials that would be competent to account for the usage of public funds do not appear to
be those of the GFA.

We are confident that you will reach an understanding with the Commission and that you will
collaborate as long as the autonomy of the GFA is respected.

Please keep us informed of any further development.

Yours sincerely,
FIFA

Markus Kattner
Deputy Secretary General

Cc: CAF

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