Ghana’s Members of Parliament have slammed the centre referee in the Portugal-Ghana clash in the ongoing FIFA World Cup, Ismail Elfath, for poor officiating which cost the West African side.
The members suspect conspiracy against African teams in the tournament and want FIFA to be fair to all teams.
Ghana lost to Portugal 3-2 in a pulsating encounter at the Stadium 947, Doha, after what some football watchers say was a poor officiating from the American referee.
He awarded Portugal captain, Christiano Ronaldo, what the MPs considered a “questionable penalty” in the 65th minute of the game after a battle for the ball with Ghana defender, Mohammed Salisu.
The referee also overlooked “a clear offside” according to the lawmakers, to allow Portuguese AC Milan attacker, Rafael Leao, slot in his country’s third in the 80th minute.
The MPs made these observations in comments they made on an urgent statement made by the Ranking Member on the Youth, Sports, and Culture Committee, Wisdom Kobena Woyome, MP, South Tongu who thought the “questionable penalty gave the Portuguese a goal ahead of start.”
A former Minister of Sports and MP for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, congratulating the Black Stars for a sterling performance even when the odds were against them said fairness must be the watchword for officials in the tournament.
“Football is about fairness. The game must exhibit the sense of unity and purposefulness. Officiating was quite questionable. When you invest so much in a tournament like this and decisions affect you so much [you ask yourself ‘what is happening’]. Each country spends so much hoping to have a fair game; games that refereeing will be acceptable to all of us.
“When you go to a tournament and decisions taken against you affect your progress, that is a problem and we must be worried about what happened in the game,” he said.
He was happy the Ghana Football Association was taking steps to file official complaint against the Morrocan-American referee to FIFA, a complaint he said the FIFA must take seriously to erase any doubts that it is working against African teams.
“We need fairness. In the next two and subsequent games, officiating must be on-point. They should be fair to all of us,” Mr Asiamah demanded.
In the view of the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, “Portugal got two unmeritorious goals – the penalty and the third goal. That is not fair.”
“The penalty was indeed questionable and if we are to be blunt, most undeserved. Ghana lost to the referee and not to Portugal,” the Majority Leader and MP for Suame, OseiKyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
He wondered who the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was that they did not bother to call the referee to take a second look at the decisions.
For the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the result does not reflect the encounter, the second between Ghana and Portugal at the World Cup.
“Ghana won the match but lost the points,” Mr Bagbin said and added that the scrutiny of the game was not only being done by Ghanaians but around the globe.
He observed that the world thinks that Ghana won the match for the refereeing decision.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI