The newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has reportedly frozen the bonuses and honorarium paid to Ghana Football Association (GFA) officials, until they justify why such payments must be made to them.
According to a story published by the Graphic Sports yesterday, the minister said he has both cabinet and Ministry of Finance to deal with, when it comes to the release of funds for Black Stars and that, if there is something on the budget, the FA has to arm him with the requisite explanation to defend it.
When the Black Stars earlier assembled in Accra, the minister successfully negotiated with them to slash down their wining bonus from $10,000 to $8,000. The two parties also agreed that the bonuses should be paid in the local currency, the Cedi, and should be deposited into the accounts provided by the players. Also, all tickets to watch Black Star matches must also be validated by the minister's office.
The Chronicle congratulates the new minister for the stringent measures he is putting in place to streamline administration of sports in the country. One of the contentious issues that came up during the Brazil 2014 World Cup probe was the 'co-efficient theory' espoused by the GFA for the sharing of bonuses and honorarium paid to the FA officials. Up to date, the Ghanaian public has not understood that theory.
The Chronicle, therefore, agrees with the order from the minister that the FA officials must write to justify the basis for the payment of such bonuses to them. Prior to the recent World Cups that Ghana participated in, there were allegations that some of the FA officials were behind agitations by the players for the increment in their wining bonuses, because they also benefited from it.
Quiet recently, there was another rumour that the Executive Committee Members of the Ghana Football Association have been paid huge sums of money, instead of investing those monies into the development of the game in Ghana.
We are not, in any way, suggesting the money paid to the Executive Committee members came from government chest, but such payments fuel perception that they (FA Members) are there just to make money, instead of the development of the game. This is the reason why we think the FA officials must justify the bonuses paid to them.
Also, considering the shame brought on Ghana when over $3 million was airlifted to Brazil in 2014, and the imprisonment of the former Sports Minister, Mallam Issah, as a result of physically carrying Black Stars winning bonuses with him, it is fair deal that the players would now be paid in local currency and directly into their accounts in Ghana.
Based on the current agreement, there is no need for both the FA and Sports Minister to carry huge sums of dollars on them, when traveling with the Black Stars. What is needed now is for the Sports Minister to honour his word by paying promptly the wining bonuses for the players into their local accounts as agreed.
In the case of the ticket racketeering, The Chronicle does not know whether the validation of the tickets alone would help to eliminate the canker. As a result of the new policy, The Chronicle understands there were problems of securing tickets for important personalities, including the GFA boss himself, during the recent Ghana-Mozambique match played at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Whilst commending Mr. Vanderpuiye for trying to make sure that the country derives maximum benefits at the gates, the frustrations the GFA officials and others went through on the match day is unacceptable and should not happen again.
The minister should also know that because of the new arrangement he is trying to introduce, he is going to have problems with officials operating under him, because he is surely going to block their illegal sources of income. He must, therefore, be transparent with all his actions so that journalists and the general public can track what he is doing and be judges, should there be any brouhaha.
Though we welcome the new policies being implemented by the Sports Minister, we have one question for him – If bonuses of the GFA officials are cancelled because they could not justify it, is he, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye, also going to pocket per diem should he travel with the team? We pause for the answer.