Indisputably, the world’s most popular sport is football. This sport has massively grown in following to the extent that some even regard it as a religion. Soccer stars are rubbing shoulders with businessmen on ‘rich lists’ while they continue to dominate ‘celebrity lists’ as well. However, administration of the game seems to be controlled by a majority few. It keeps many to wonder what at all is on the ‘Treasure Island’?
‘Foul play’ instead of ‘Fair play’
During last month’s FIFA Elections, the only challenger to the incumbent Joseph Sepp Blatter, Mohamed Bin Hammam, had to be coerced to withdraw his candidature after the Ethics Committee ruled that he had to undergo investigation in a bribery scandal. Though Sepp Blatter’s name came out clearly as having knowledge of the bribery claims, he was exonerated to stand for the elections unopposed. Attempts by the English Football Association to have the elections postponed prove futile. After his re-election, Sepp Blatter admitted to malfeasance within the world governing body and promised that time will help unravel the mysteries surrounding the corruption perception in the Association. He even likened ‘these trying moments’ to ship wreck and audaciously stated that they will ‘dock safely’. During those tense periods, Jack Warner, a FIFA Vice President came out with ample evidence of impropriety within Fifa. All those seemed to have gone down the gurgler. Warner has since resigned from all positions he holds in football. Notwithstanding, his pieces of evidence attests to the ‘foul play’ instead of ‘fair play’ within the world governing body.
On the continent, current President Issa Hayatou also stood unopposed in 2009. These went together with the election of most of his favourites in the Executive Committee as unopposed. Recent attempts to push South African subtle candidate, Danny Joordan, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 World Cup LOC, were met with opposition as Hayatou furtively campaigned against him in the Zonal elections to the CAF Executive Committee. Hayatou even furthered his ploys to Zone West B, where he furtively supported Beninois Mousharaf Anjorin against Ghana’s Kwesi Nyantankyi. It keeps one to wonder what at all is within the football administration pale that is making the administrators forge cartels and steely prevent outsiders from traversing the lines. But for the suspension of Amos Adamu and other CAF Executive members and the retirement of the likes of Slim Alolo, new bloods like Kwesi Nyantakyi may not have had the chance to assume their new roles.
It seems that same tactics is being adopted by the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association, who have re-elected Kwesi Nyatankyi by acclamation to head the Association for another four-year term in office. It started with the ineligibility of Vincent Odotei Sowah and Neil Armstrong Mortagbe. The latter even came under scrutiny for alleging that the GFA President is corrupt. Indeed, it opened the Pandora’s Box just like in the FIFA situation and he was also found to have some specks in his eyes. This has since led to the resignation of the entire executive of the Ghana League Clubs Association.
Kwesi Nyatankyi’s achievements as president of the Ghana Football administration cannot be underestimated but more needs to be done to clear the Association’s name of impropriety. I was once at a gathering of key members of the Executive Committee. This was when the 2010/2011 Premier League was nearing the end of the first half of the season. Jones Abu-Alhassan was passing by and some Executive Committee members archly muttered that this year Real Tamale United will definitely go into the wilderness. I thought their reason will be by virtue of the clubs poor performance! They rather said no club will ‘give’ them matches. Incredible! Scenes of this showed in the latter stages of this season when teams were ‘winning’ matches. Others were incredibly losing. Others even gave away their commanding leads and ‘surprisingly’ lost matches. These are some of the issues Kwesi Nyantakyi, Issa Hayatou and Sepp Blatter need to take keen interest in before the game and its administrators lose their integrity. Politics has come to be noted as a dirty game because of past events. Football administration may be next to be referred as such.