AshantiGold-Inter Allies match-fixing report good but …

When news broke on Monday about the demotion of Ghana Premier League (GPL) side, AshantiGold and Division One League (DOL) club, Inter Allies to the second division of Ghana Football over match-fixing allegations, few expressed surprise at the verdict of guilty reached by the Disciplinary Committee (DC) of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

A section of football followers also was impressed with the comprehensive and detailed work done by the DC.

The game played last season on July 17, 2021 at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium was a week 34 fixture of the 2020/21 Premier League season.

It ended 7-0 in favour of Ashgold to spoil the alleged fixed score line of 5-1.

Inter Allies defender Hashmin Musah turned a whistleblower by revealing that what was described as his questionable conduct – scoring two deliberate own goals when he was introduced in the second half – was a hero’s act.

This revelation instigated investigations into the claims by the GFA, but with 11 months into the investigations and the GFA being constantly dodgy and unconvincing with responses regarding investigations into the game, passionate fans of the game lost confidence in the GFA’s readiness to bring closure to a matter that bordered on the integrity and sanctity of football. 

Unknowingly, the GFA had been working in the shadows and effectively keeping the operations on the case closely guarded and out of the public discourse to avoid the pressure cooker.

The result was a compelling report that confirmed the suspicion of Ghanaians that the game was heavily compromised and hefty punishments slapped on the deserving parties according to the GFA’s constitution.

Big names such as President of Ashantigold, Dr Kwaku Frimpong, and his son, Emmanuel Frimpong, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), were respectively handed 10 and eight years’ bans  respectively and also slapped with GH¢100,000 and ¢50,000 fines.

Players, coaches and team officials from both Ashgold and Allies who were found culpable also suffered punishments ranging from two years and two-and-a-half-years’ suspensions from football.

The Ghanaian Times applauds the GFA for this punitive measure which, it believes, establishes its commitment to fighting rot in football and also serves as a deterrent to others who may be engaging in the practice but are yet to be exposed.

But with five matches more to go, the Ghanaian Times is concerned about the timing of the release of the report.

The paper holds the view that the report could have been kept until the end of the league, given the fact that the league is at the business end but the situation would leave Ashgold and Inter Allies with no reason to stay competitive.

Upshot of this was the cancelation of Ashgold’s fixture against Asante Kotoko in a match week 29 fixture based on police intelligence.

If the GFA had waited until the end of the season to release the report, it would have helped both clubs to deal with and assimilate the issues better and would have allowed time for the fans to heal and accept the ‘sins’ of their clubs.

With the huge financial sanctions on the bankroller of Ashgold, it will make very little sense to continue to dole out money when he knows what awaits the club after the season.

A similar situation in Italy concerning Italian giants Juventus on July 14, 2006 in what came to be known as the ‘Calciopoli’ was delayed till the season to end before they were demoted to the Serie B. 

Despite disregarding the grave security and financial considerations in releasing the report, the Ghanaian Times believes that the GFA can make amends by ensuring that security around Ashanti Gold games are imposing to prevent any disaster while also keeping an eagle eye on the remainder of the matches.

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