The direction of football in Ghana is about to become a lot clearer thanks to FIFA’s newly-installed ‘normalisation committee,’ following a turbulent three months which were triggered by allegations of corruption and bribery.
After 13 straight years under the leadership of Kwesi Nyantakyi, Ghana football will have new leadership in an interim capacity during the country’s most challenging sporting crisis.
The impact of the documentary “When Greed and Corruption Become The Norm” touched almost every aspect of the sport in Ghana, forcing FIFA to scrap the executive committee of the Ghana Football Association and commence plans for a normalisation committee.
FIFA has yet to spell out the composition or exact terms of the committee, but ‘reform’ has been the buzzword in Ghana since the announcement. But which issues should be addressed?
Ghana Premier League
What the new committee does with the still-suspended Ghana Premier League should be top of the agenda.
The league bagged a substantial sponsorship deal with Zylofon Cash in the final days of the Nyantakyi administration, but there are still question marks over the way the league is run, as well as the structure of the Premier League Board.
There have been suggestions that the organisation of the league be split entirely from the Ghana Football Association to reflect a growing trend worldwide to give it more leverage and independence.
The biggest revelation of the documentary was the dismal state of refereeing as a whole in Ghana. The Confederation of African Football has already issued long bans for many Ghanaian referees implicated in the video.
The Chairman of the Referees Association of Ghana Joe Debrah told KweséESPN that out of fourteen FIFA referees in Ghana, twelve have been indicted. David Laryea, an assistant referee, has been banned for life and six others all handed 10-year bans.
However, Debrah claims that, “If the league should start today we can get referees to officiate,” and says there is a vast pool of match officials on stand-by.
The bigger issue, though, is what calibre would those referees be, given the top echelon has been removed?
Removal of absolute power
A major complaint under the Nyantakyi administration was how the sheer scope of power given to the GFA president made it almost impossible for checks and balances to exist.
Under the existing statutes, the president names the vice president and also names the emergency committee, which is responsible for the day to the day administration of the body.
Heart of Lions owner Randy Abbey, himself a former executive member, has suggested the practice gives undue power to the president of the football association and opens the door for abuse.
Restore faith and reputations
In addition to laying structures and sorting out statutes, the normalisation committee simply has to restore public confidence in Ghana football. The scale of the allegations against officials and referees has left an immense reputational dent on local football.
To win back fans, sponsors, and public goodwill, there has to be a sense that things have changed for the long haul.
“If we don’t come back stronger, better organized, more determined to create a sustainable business with a great product that people can get excited and proud about, shame on all of us,” Hearts of Oak chief executive Mark Noonan told KweséESPN.