It was Saturday night at the Golden Beam Hotel in Kumasi – the Ashanti Regional capital and the Ghanaian football fraternity gathered together at the fundraising dinner dance for the JAK Cup.
Club owners, football administrators, corporate Ghana and some invited core of the media were all present to offer support to President Kufuor’s Foundation who had targeted raising GHS80 million to help in various areas of development of society.
FIFA rules bar any member of the body to accept or give a gift worth more than $50.
While organisers and genuinely concerned industry players within and outside sought to contribute their quota towards helping the course of the foundation, there were also those who shielded their real intentions and subconsciousness with smiles and determination to create a good image among the masses through adherence to populist strategies.
Wilfried Osei Kwaku, known in Ghanaian football circles as Palmer, made donations worth thousands of dollars to both Asante Kotoko and AshantiGold in the build up to their controversial 1-1 drawn game in the JAK Cup on Sunday and crowned it at the Fundraising Dinner Dance with a pledge to donate GHS20,000 ($4,098.36) to support the efforts of the foundation.
While the Tema Youth President and Sporting Director was busily stealing the show at the event in what was a flex of his financial muscles his competitor Kurt Okraku was also not out of the scene. Okraku, who is the boss at Ghana Premier League side Dreams FC and member of the Ghana Football Association had earlier announced in a statement that he had purchased 3000 tickets which was estimated to be worth GHS30,000 an equivalent of $6,147.54 to also support the foundation. In what has been described as glory-seeking move, Okraku posted on Facebook that he felt proud that he was able to support the foundation with his contribution.
Bookmakers within the football industry have described the jostling and splashing of cash by the two administrators as an obvious vote buying and trying to posit the Ghana FA Presidency for the highest bidder, something FIFA doesn’t encourage and has spelt out punishment for officials who disrespect these rules.
The JAK Cup donations and pledges are just not it. Last October Osei Kwaku donated GHS10,000 ($2,049.18) to colts clubs in the Ashanti region in a gesture to somehow win the support of football electorates in the region with many online portals reporting the story.
Many within the industry have pointed out that Okraku and Osei Kwaku are not known donors within the football circles and are only doing so elections purposes.
While that still remains an assumption FIFA rules and regulations clearly forbid such acts by the two officials who are seeking to lead the Ghana FA.
Relevant FIFA Rules and Regulations in the FIFA Code of Ethics (2018) spell out various sanctions for officials who violate the rules.
“any board member (including the members of the Council), committee member, referee, assistant referee, coach, trainer or any other person responsible for technical, medical or administrative matters in FIFA, a confederation, a member association, a league or a club as well as all other persons obliged to comply with the FIFA Statutes (except players and intermediaries).”
Requirements of Article 17 further states;
“Persons bound by this Code who become aware of any infringements of this Code shall inform, in writing, the secretariat and/or chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee directly.”
Also Article 17 of the FIFA Code of Ethics provides;
“Failure to report such infringements shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 10,000 as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a maximum of two years.”
With the FIFA Article 17 it means that both Kurt Okraku and Wilfried Osei Kwaku would have question to answer from the FIFA Ethics Committee before they even put themselves up for any position of elections.
By El Akyereko
Follow the writer on Twitter: @Akwasiakyereko