Great Olympics and King Faisal will take part in the 2019/2020 Ghana Premier League season after the decision was approved at the GFA’s Elective Congress on Friday by 64 of the 120 delegates.
The two clubs had been asking to be part of the new league structure after they both deemed to have been victims of some acts of injustice and those acts led to their relegation.
The move will mean that the new league season will have 18 teams instead of the standard 16 which has been the norm for many years.
Members of the GFA Congress decided that the two teams needed to be given a chance to take part in the league based on their grievances.
However, the Congress said that the decision to expand to 18 would only stand for the 2019/ 2020 Ghana Premier League season. At the end of that season, 5 teams would get relegated in order to have the regular number of 16 teams for the 2020/ 2021 season.
But how did we get here in first place? Why are King Faisal and Great Olympics asking to be part of the league?
It will be recalled that the Great Olympics held up the start of the 2017/ 2018 Ghana Premier League season after a case they presented against Bechem United for fielding an unqualified player was thrown out by the FA.
So, they wanted a points-deduction to handed to Bechem as stated in the FA’s statutes. The deduction would have saved Olympics from the drop.
The FA, at the time, said the case had been filed outside the stipulated 3-day window prescribed in the statutes.
Subsequently, the team took the issue to the law courts where it lost the case ultimately.
Olympics’ issue with the GFA was that Bechem United’s Joseph Amoah was not qualified to play against them on the final day of the 2016/ 2017 season in a match they lost to send them down to Division One.
However, Amoah’s status as an unqualified player was down to an administrative error on the part of referee Reginald Lathbridge.
Earlier in the season, Lathbridge handled a match between Elmina Sharks and Bechem United and mistakenly wrote in his match report that it was Amoah he had booked. Subsequent yellow cards meant that Amoah should not have played against Olympics on the last day of the season.
The error led Olympics to go on the legal route and almost halted the start of the 2017/ 2018 league season. While they were not successful, the Ghana FA banned Lethbridge for life for his error that almost threw the league season out of gear.
Lathbridge tried changing the match records 7 months later and that drew the anger of the FA.
For King Faisal, they suffered relegation in 2014 but they also went to court to get some issues resolved. Their case was that Aduana Stars FC had failed to pay a fine and thus, needed to be punished.
King Faisal took the issue to the GFA’s Disciplinary and Appeals Committee where it lost and thus, went to the law court to have the FA punish Aduana Stars by deducting points; a situation which would have saved Faisal from relegation.