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19.04.2005 Sports News

FIFA’S Mea Culpa

By Plange, Paa Kwesi
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Football and politics are two strange bedfellows but if the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) had their way there wouldn't be any relation between the two at all.

The World's football governing council has over the years fought valiantly to keep the administration of football from the over-reaching and over-bearing hands of government.

This rather uncompromising policy is FIFA's way of salvaging the beautiful game from the hands of people who use their political mandate to erect an arch over the administration of football.

FIFA believes in the ideal that football is a game or if you like the opium of the masses which should not be placed under the tight fist of politicians or any government for that matter.

Nowhere in the world has this policy met a lot of resistance than in our neck of the woods-Africa. Malawi is currently under a FIFA ban for governmental interference in that country's football association. Recently Uganda came close to receiving a similar reprimand from FIFA for the same offense.

Three weeks ago, FIFA fired a strong letter to Ghana's Football Association demanding that the association reformed its statutes within three months. In a letter to GFA Secretary Kofi Nsiah, dated March 23 and signed by Jerome Champagne, Deputy General-Secretary, FIFA strongly critiqued the structural set-up of Ghana's Football Association and called for immediate reforms to resolve the situation.

One of the main reforms demanded by FIFA is the change in the GFA's statutes that made government the appointing authority of the Chairman of the GFA. Nigeria is currently racing against time to meet a similar demand from FIFA. FIFA requested that any form of structure that would be arrived at in the time provided should replicate the structure presently in place at FIFA. FIFA and most national confederations have legislative, executive and judicial committees that function in a complementary, supportive and non-combative manner.

“With overlapping competences and three presidents/chairmen (it has created) instability and a lack of clarity in terms of political legitimacy.”

FIFA also cracked a whip at the GFA Chairman, Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe for violating FIFA statutes that prohibits the recourse to the law courts especially in cases that come under the purview of football administration.

“The repeated violations by the GFA President of article 61.2 of FIFA statutes on the prohibition of the recourse of ordinary courts clearly proved the necessity in the GFA statute stricter clauses on legal disputes.”

“Too much time has been lost in unnecessary and counter-productive political and legal infighting within and around the GFA.”

While both sides would be first to claim victory or stake a claim to some form of vindication from the letter from FIFA, it appears FIFA's sickle would cut more towards the side of the Executive Council that is if the reforms demanded are carried out to the latter.

This recent directive from FIFA has come as a vindication for those who have clamoured over the years for either the dissolution of the Executive Council or for the curtailment of its powers. While we debate this directive from FIFA there should be the need to tread cautiously and with reason. We need to work to achieve consensus so that Ghana Football can move forward. In the cause of the process there is no doubt that some sensibilities would be offended-it shouldn't be taken personally.

Our work is certainly cut out for us as FIFA would be expecting a very precise, concise but comprehensive programme that would address the convoluted challenges facing Ghana football once and for all.

This is not the right time to paper over the cracks or to merely present a band-aid (plaster) solution. The wind of change is blowing across the world and we have to embrace it so it can work for us.

Would this be the opportune time to deal a last blow to the Executive Council? It remains to be seen. GOOD JOB DJUKOVIC….but Amassing nine points out of a total of 18 might have a promising ring to it so far as the Black Stars world cup qualification campaign is concerned but the fact remain that the task to qualify for our first ever world cup has been made more Herculean now than when we lost our first game on the desert terrain of Ouagadougou.

Our second position- right on the heels of South Africa- means we have to win all our matches in order for us to secure the sole ticket from Group B. We would not only have to win against Burkina Faso and Uganda (both home ties) but also have to extend the winning form to make unwitting victims of Cape Verde and South Africa.

It is a Herculean task indeed. However if the reports about the game in Kinshasa has any credence then every effort must be made to help actualize our dream of joining the elite of world football at the game's highest summit next summer.

We need to seize the moment now that the spirit of the players is high. It appears the players have finally seen the light and are making all the necessary sacrifices to bring the dream into fruition.

Unfortunately not all the players are on the same page in terms of keeping this hope burning in the hearts of Ghanaians.

The old self-destructive habits are still creeping up in some of the players. Djukovic's response to this old nemesis has been blunt and robust and that gives a lot of us hope that he is the best man to salvage our world cup dream. Already he has asked deputy captain Samuel Osei Kufuor to apologize to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and to him personally before he would be considered for a call up to the Black Stars.

Kufuor has to eat humble pie and apologize because he is needed on the team. It would be great to have his experience on our team especially on our must-win away encounters.

Do the right thing, Sammy. Read this and others online at For hard copy readers articles are available in the Monday edition of Gye Nyame Concord in Ghana. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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