The Government of Ghana announced its intentions to dissolve the Ghana Football Association on Wednesday following the airing of ‘Number 12’, the latest work by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
The decision immediately opens the football fraternity to unchartered waters in these parts. Several media houses announced an outright resolution, while the official statement was slightly different.
What does it mean “to take immediate steps to get the GFA dissolved”, as the Mustapha Hamid – signed government statement says; and is it the same as “dissolving the GFA”?
Apparently, the two are not the same.
A case to prove
According to a lawyer, Brian Adotey, the government cannot, technically, just dissolve the GFA because it is registered as a private company limited by guarantee.
“By the law, the government will need to either go through a petition to the Registrar General or through the Attorney General to liquidate that company,” he tells Joy Sports.
“Even then, the government will need to prove a solid case of the FA operating an illegality, which will be hard to do.”
He argues that though, via the work of Anas’ documentaries, several football administrators and high-ranking officials were nabbed on tape taking bribes and in various compromising positions, there remains an issue.
“The GFA, as an entity, was in itself not committing illegalities. The government’s legal team would now, as stated earlier, have to prove in court that the actions of the GFA officials suspected of a crime means the organisation in itself can be lumped into the action.”
What this would mean is that, for the moment, all the GFA’s activities can continue.
This is in sharp contrast to what Minister of Sport Isaac Asiamah said on Wednesday’s edition of Joy FM’s News Night. After confirming that the Ghana Premier League will not continue – “can we run the league now when all the referees have been implicated?” – he added that “all other activities related to the FA have been suspended until further notice.”
He added that the national teams that have qualified for international competitions will all have to cancel their plans, emphasizing that “dissolving means just that – everything has stopped.”
Per the lawyer’s explanation, then, the MTN FA Cup games scheduled for this weekend should, technically, be able to go on.
Indeed, a GFA official with knowledge of the situation tells Joy Sports that it is for reasons stated that the Black Stars were able to honour their friendly match against World Cup-bound Iceland on Wednesday evening. This, despite the government’s announcement about the intention to dissolve was made almost three hours before the game kicked off in Reykjavik.
“If the statement by the government was crystal clear that everything relaing to the FA had been dissolved with immediate effect, we may not have played. But once we saw that the action was not consummate and absolute, we knew we had the go-ahead to play.”
Adotey, the lawyer, concludes by saying that “in short, until the government officially announces a dissolution, Wednesday’s statement from the Information Ministry is not conclusive,”
Yet, another lawyer, Sammy Darko suggests that the government can bring its power to bear on the situation, if it so wills.
Speaking on Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV, the former Joy FM journalist argues: “The government has so much power. Imagine if they sent the police or military to match venues this weekend, what can anyone do in this situation?”
“Yes, it could be illegal, but they are the government, and they could simply decide to use their power to do so – although it is not likely that they would. Such an action may not score them any marks at all.”
So, for the moment, it appears it’s business as usual, until further notice.
What remains unclear is whether the government, per the claims of Sports Minister Asiamah, will bulldoze their way to a dissolution, despite the legal provisions that must be met.