A RETIRED Ghanaian referee has revealed that referees accept bribes to determine the outcome of matches.
Former Ghana Premier League referee Kwame Nsiah Boafo said most referees officiating in the local league receive bribes from club officials to influence matches. During an interview with the GNA first carried on Metro TV, the 51-year-old, who is now a reverend minister with the Baptist Church of Ghana, insisted that many top officials in the country’s football are behind the graft.
During his heyday, most of Boafo’s decisions proved unpopular with club representatives, supporters and the media.
“Bribery is part of refereeing. That is why I don’t get closer to refereeing after becoming a reverend minister, because I don’t want people to associate me with it. I have received bribes on many occasions that I can’t even recollect,” Boafo told Metro FM.
“As a referee, it becomes very difficult to say no to some of the people who persuade you, because sometimes if you reject their offer, especially the home sides, they will attack you if the results go against them.
“Some club officials even collect money from their bosses to influence referees and eventually pocket it; but to enable those around to believe they delivered the offer, they will walk with you [referee] before the game and when the results don’t go in their favour, they tend to incite the supporters against referees,” he said.
He added: “The home teams mostly pay for the accommodation of referees, feed them and pay transportation. Hence referees are compelled to take decisions that would go well with the home teams. For instance, B.A United’s management once called and said that they knew I was the centre referee in their league match, and they wanted to meet me. By the time I realised they were in Kumasi and gave me $100 for transportation, and in that game I rather awarded a penalty against them.
“Also, I received payment from both Asante Kotoko and King Faisal prior to a mid-week game in Kumasi, and I decided to help Kotoko but Faisal won 1-0.”
Boafo, who retired in 2010, further revealed that organisers of competitions also instruct referees to help certain clubs emerge winners in order to achieve their economic interest.
“Organisers of competitions can also tell you to influence matches. I recall that the organisers of the Otumfuo Challenge Cup in 2010, told me to assist Ashgold to beat Hearts because they wanted Kotoko to play Hearts in the third place game. Kotoko had been beaten by Wa All Stars, hence missed out in the final, and to make the competition exciting, I complied by awarding penalties against Hearts that resulted in Ashgold’s victory over the former in the semi-final.”
Boafo and his assistants were attacked in 2008 by irate Kintampo United and B.A United fans, who believed the Ghana Football Association was aiding Berekum Chelsea in the Division One League to gain promotion to the premier league at their expense.
Efforts by the Times Sports to get a member of the Referees Committee, the Referees Association of Ghana (RAG) and the Premier League Board for their reactions proved futile at the time of filing this story .
As a matter of fact, the General Secretary of the RAG, J. A. Mensah, when contacted, initially said he was in a vehicle and could not talk but — he later said he would get in touch with the vice-chairman, Mr. Debrah and get back to the Times.
In the case of Retired Referee Glah, he said he was at a Disciplinary Committee meeting and, therefore, it was not proper to talk in the midst of an on-going meeting.