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Sports News
World Cup Money: Nyantakyi Under Fire! 10/9/2007
GFA President''s Revelations On GTV.
On 27th September, 2007, the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi, was on GTV’s programme "Soccer Africa" hosted by Fifi Banson.

It was a revelation time as the GFA boss expatiated on a wide range of issues.

Kwesi is an intelligent youngman who can take Ghana football very far if he keeps his feet on the ground and does not allow the hawks and vultures in Ghana football to ''derail'' him and his regime.

There are a few of the issues he touched on, on which I would want to have some clarifications and others I would comment and advise on.

First, he said Ghana earned $6 million overall at the 2006 World Cup and FIFA deducted $1.1 million as cost for extra boarding and lodging; extra perhaps meaning boarding and lodging outside what the hosts or FIFA had catered for or additional requests?

I think Ghanaians have a right to know who or what the $1.1 million was used to cater for.

There have been many instances in the past where players and technical men have been dropped for officials to take along their wives or girlfriends or even ''connection'' people. We need to know who were catered for with that huge amount of the tax payers’ money.

Uncle Kwesi also said of the remaining $4.9m, GFA received from FIFA (after FIFA had deducted the $1.1 million for extra feeding, hotel, etc.) $2.5 million was paid to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as part payment for the over $4 million government spent on appearance fees and bonuses to the players during the tournament.

I have a big problem with that, and we need to know how much the players were given in bonuses and appearance fees for just the first and second round during which they won two matches and lost two.

If the government of Ghana will sponsor the qualification of the Black Stars to the World Cup with tax-payers'' money and with the help of corporate bodies like Goldfields (as part of their social responsibility, which could have gone to the health sector, etc.) and the players will demand all the money in appearance fees and bonuses because other players of countries in Europe or elsewhere are doing similar things then it is not really fair and the players must not be allowed to hold the nation to ransom.

The financial benefits of playing at the World Cup must be mainly used to develop the game from the grassroots and also improve upon the leagues from which most of them emerged and proceeded to stardom.

We must begin to question the prudence in spending colossal amounts of the tax-payers'' money in the upkeep of the stars and the qualification process, only for the players to blackmail and twist our hands to pocket all the money. After all, the World Cup took place at a time when there was no league going on around the world so there was no question of losing bonuses, etc. at their clubs. The players rather used it as a platform to market themselves.

Besides, when the nation has propelled them to wherever they find themselves today, it is their turn to give something back and feel proud to play for the nation.

As for the pick-ups bought for the Regional Football Associations (FA''s), I have already stated in this column before that the money could have been used to computerize and network all the regions to enhance the offices and avoid the falsification and tempering of documents at the GFA.

Another issue Kwesi spoke about was that when one was preparing for a competition like the World Cup, one thought about future Stars. I disagree on that point. This is not just any competition. It is a competition in which we have invested billions to host and which we want to win.

Second, if Claude Le Roy and the GFA wanted to test or groom young talents, he (Le Roy) shouldn’t have waited till the last five months to Ghana/CAN 2008 to start.

Third, for a tournament at which we would be registering 21 players, we must have mature players who could readily step in for injured or sanctioned players.

In a tournament like the Cup of Nations, matches are played at two or three day intervals and we do not have the luxury treating injured players or replacing sanctioned or ineffective ones. Once the tournament starts, unlike qualifiers for CAN or World Cup where matches are played weeks or months apart, one can have time to treat players or invite and replace ineffective ones.

So I will once again plead with Le Roy and the GFA to shelve their grooming plans until after CAN 2008.

Then Uncle Kwesi also stated in reaction to the plethora of court cases in Ghana football, that when Juventus tried to go to court over their involvement in fixed matches last year, FIFA dared them to proceed and see.

Yes, I believe FIFA did that because Juventus were guilty but were broken by the sanctions applied. And I expected the GFA to give Abedi Pele and his Nania FC a similar warning when he decided to seek redress in the courts for those filthy matches of convenience in the Middle League.

Instead, the GFA folded its arms and allowed one of its own to insult Ghanaians and derail the soccer calendar.

I have always stated in this column that the best way the GFA and its organs can minimize or prevent litigation in the courts is to be fair and firm in its situations.

In situations where people have no confidence or trust in the GFA''s internal arbitration process and have genuine grievances, neither the GFA nor FIFA can stop clubs or individuals from seeking redress in the law courts.

In cases where vital files and documents get missing and resurface after cases have been judged and documents are altered to favour certain clubs or personalities, you cannot expect people who have invested their money, energy, time and emotions in club management to sit and do nothing when all their efforts are being nullified by the indiscretions of dishonest people with parochial interests.

And I pray that there will never be a time when our esteemed Judiciary will be conned by the soccer-authority''s use of the time limit on the football calendar to turn their backs on football clubs or individuals in football who have genuine grievances. That will be a sad travesty of justice; more so, when the same GFA and its arbitration organs can delay cases for months on end.

The other matter Kwesi touched on which I think was a slip was that he revealed that the Black Stars would camp at the Labadi Beach Hotel during the Cup of Nations.

In the football world where intrigues and espionage are common place and in a nation where some unpatriotic people are willing to betray their nation, it wasn''t the best to reveal the Stars camping place five months before a tournament we are hosting.

We were in this country when a Ghanaian doctor ''doped'' Danny ''little Red'' Lopez to snatch David ''Poison'' Kotei''s World title at the Accra Sports Stadium in 1976.

Kofi Adzi (Crusading Guide Sports Analyst )

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