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17.04.2007 Editorial

Temper Justice With Mercy

Dear Editor, Kindly grant me space to comment on the fines, ban and demotions handed to Nania F/C, Tudu Mighty Jets, Great Mariners and Okwawu United, in the wake of the 60-goals match-fixing scandal that rocked Ghana football recently.

I am surprised everybody is saying the punishment meted out to the four teams are either too soft or good. I beg to differ.

I certainly have no stake in these four teams, but I think if we care about the future of Ghana football, there is no need banning them after demoting them to the Third Division.

Remember Juventus were only relegated to Serie B in the Italian saga, and Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina even maintained their Serie A status.

We should not let personal sentiments against individuals blind us in our judgements. These are teams which have and are bound to produce players for our national teams.

Do we want to cripple them or kill them off with these harsh punishments and an additional ยข50 million fines? How many of the Premier League teams can pay this fine?

I think the clubs erred and we should punish them to serve as a deterrent to others, but this is just too much and highly unreasonable.

I know most people disagree with me, but if we really cherish the future of our game and would want to encourage individuals with the love for the game and progress of Ghanaian football to venture into the sector, then the punishment meted out to the clubs should be reviewed, by demoting them to Division Two.

That is the reasonable thing to do. Punishments are to reform, not to kill the offenders. This was a moment of misjudgement in soccer. The desperation to qualify to the Premier League got the better of these teams and whilst condemning their actions, that should not mean we should crucify them altogether.

I am sure, those prescribing stiffer punishments for these four clubs may have also erred in the past, except that their clubs did not score that much. 'Let the one without sin cast the first stone.'

Come again, the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association.

Don Plato,

Vandal City,

University of Ghana, Legon.

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