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02.02.2005 Football News

Clubs to boycott Kotoko

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Fourteen premiership sides yesterday decided to isolate themselves from Asante Kotoko in all competitions, as they viewed Kotoko's withdrawal from the Coca-Cola Top 4 tournament with disappointment.

At an emergency meeting in Accra, representatives of clubs that played in the 2004 Premier League, except B. A. United and RTU,decided that none would play Kotoko in either competitive or ceremonial matches until further notice in the wake of the club's withdrawal from the GHALCA-organised competition.

At press time yesterday,the GHALCA hierarchy was in the process of documenting their decision to the Ghana Football Association (GFA).In a sharp reaction, Kotoko's CEO,Major (retd) Yaw Larson, described the decision in a radio interview as an ordinary ranting and raving by “persons who do not understand football”.

In the dock with the Coca-Cola Top 4 renegades is the GFA Chairman,whose administration faces a tough time with GHALCA at tomorrow's extraordinary congress, which will deal among others,issues relating to Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe and his long stand-off with the clubs body.

Sources close to GHALCA, big stakeholders at the Congress, said the clubs' body would seek to actualise its intent to strip the GFA of contributions by the clubs until Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe is removed from office.

But as the clubs carry the threat to a decision point, Kotoko's withdrawal from the Coca-Cola Top 4 tournament has hastened the extraordinary congress that will also decide on what the source called “Kotoko's notoriety” in, particularly, off-season competitions.

Kotoko abandoned their first game against Hearts of Lions in Accra and later announced their withdrawal from the competition altogether, forcing the organisers, GHALCA, to replace them with RTU just before the second games were played last Sunday.

But Kotoko's action, which they say was precipitated by Referee J. O. Lamptey's award of a penalty to Lions, has also angered the referees' association who has forwarded a complaint to the clubs,rejecting any offers to handle matches involving Kotoko.

Referee Lamptey was in charge when Kotoko beat Arsenals 4-1 in Kumasi last year in a Zone A match of the special Premier League, but after his decision placed Lions on the verge of victory, Kotoko branded him as one of many referees whose decisions have consistently been against the club.

At yesterday's emergency meeting, where GHALCA members recounted uncomfortable encounters with Kotoko's overbearing ego, including their unrepentant brush with all of the Top 4 tournaments, it was in unison that the clubs decided to shelve games against Kotoko to “give them what they want”.

On Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe, the clubs are poised to revive the strained relations between the GFA Management Board and the Executive Council.

The Council has been outraged by the GFA Chairman's call for down-sizing and redefinition of the role of the Council to reform Ghana football, but the feud that has followed, including the legal battle, has been calmed by the court's ruling to have the case settled out of court.

GHALCA has 14 representatives on the Executive Council, whose essence and size were criticised by Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe in his letter to the outgoing sector minister Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu.

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