ACCRA/RIO DE JANEIRO: Ghana’s World Cup effort has come under the shadow of confusion concerned a reported attempt at matchfixing writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The incident has emerged just 24 hours after the Black Stars, the Ghanaian national team, very nearly beat Germany in Group G at the finals in Brazil. A thrilling match ended in a 2-2 draw.
On the face of it the newly-reported scam, as reported by the Ghana Football Association, sounds similar to the one effected on the South African Football Association just before the 2010 World Cup finals.
Then a company purporting to be match agents but allegedly acting, instead, on behalf of a south-east Asian betting syndicate, fixed matches in the run-up to the finals in Johannesburg.
The latest incident followed an investigation by The Daily Telegraph and the British Channel Four TVs Despatches programme which is claiming that the Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi “agreed for the team to play in international matches that others were prepared to fix.”
As FIFA has pointed out, there is no link to Ghana’s matches at the World Cup finals.
Ghana FA officials have confirmed that a meeting was attempted with Nyantayi but insisted that nothing had been signed.
According to a statement, the GFA has requested the Ghana Police Service “to investigate two persons for misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud.”
It added: “Messrs Christopher Antoh Forsythe and Obed Nketiah, last month approached the president of the GFA Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi with a proposal to buy the rights to friendly matches for the Black Stars on behalf of a company they claim to be representing in England.
“They approached the GFA president to have a conversation with their boss on Skype and subsequently travelled to Miami – where the Black Stars were camping, without a prior appointment – to meet Mr Nyantakyi to discuss their proposal.
“They were subsequently asked to submit their proposal for consideration which they did and was duly submitted to the Legal Committee of the GFA for perusal and advice.
“It has now emerged, following approaches to the GFA from two media houses in England, that Messrs Christopher Anton Forsythe and Obed Nketiah were covertly filmed by a media institution for a documentary on match fixing.
“According to the queries from the media, the draft contract sent included a clause that the appointment of referees would be held by the company which sought to buy the rights for the Black Stars friendlies.
“The two were also allegedly filmed claiming that they would bribe GFA officials to ensure that the contract is signed.”
The Ghana FA says the contract remained unsigned while the offer was under consideration from its legal comittee. It also insisted no offers were ever put directly “to the GFA or its officials.”
How this last claim can be squared with the admission of discussions with Nyantakyi is unexplained.
Ghana’s FA statement concludes: “We have reported Messrs Christopher Antoh Forsythe and Obed Nketiah to the Ghana Police to investigate them whether they made such claims to the media and whether they were seeking to influence the results of Black Stars matches.
“The GFA has also reported the matter to FIFA and CAF.
“We wish to assure the public that we will not tolerate such misrepresentations and we will seek strong sanctions against such individuals if such claims are found to be true.”
FIFA confirmed that a report from the GFA is under consideration.
A spokesperson said: “We are aware of the media reports and have been contacted by the Ghana Football Association on this matter. In line with standard procedures, FIFA’s Security Division is evaluating the matter.
“It is important to note that we have no indications that the integrity of the FIFA World Cup has been compromised.
“Speaking generally, the integrity of the game is a top priority for FIFA and as such we take any allegations of match manipulation very seriously.”