Ghana move to avoid FIFA ban

Football association says it will allow domestic matches to get back underway and avoid suspension of Black Stars.

    Ghana were knocked out of the World Cup by Uruguay in controversial circumstances [GALLO/GETTY]

    Ghana's football association said it was seeking to avoid a suspension for the national team by lifting a temporary halt of domestic league matches.

    The stoppage was imposed after police raided the association offices in a tax and fraud probe last week.

    It led to football's world governing body FIFA, warning of a possible suspension for the World Cup quarter-finalists under its policy to crack down on outside interference in football.

    "FIFA's intervention has made some mark and we are going to lift the ban...it is in the national interest," said Emmanuel Addotey, head of the GHALCA league clubs association, adding the move would be agreed at a meeting later on Monday.

    Separately, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) said it was also resuming its activities on Monday after the seizure of equipment brought its administrative activities to a standstill.

    "We're reopening our offices today with the hope to move forward," GFA spokesman Randy Abbey told the Reuters news agency.
     
    Plain-clothed officers from the country's Economic and Organised Crime Unit (EOCU) raided the GFA headquarters last Tuesday and removed nine computers and took the mobile phones of some.
     
    In a letter to FIFA seen by Reuters, the government last week denied meddling.

    "Their (crime office) investigations cannot be attributed to government and cannot be inferred to be government interference," sports minister Akua Sena Dansua wrote.

    "Ongoing matters have nothing to do with central government and are purely matters being handled by a legally-established authority," she added in the letter.

    Separately, the EOCO issued a statement confirming it was investigating suspected tax breaches and fraud, and noted that it had tried earlier this week to return the seized material to the GFA on Wednesday but found that its offices were shut.

    It said the raid was connected to an investigation into the financial affairs of the GFA "which the Office has cause to believe have led to breaches of the laws of Ghana on tax, fraud and others".
     
    Ghana reached this year's World Cup quarter-finals, losing a penalty shootout to Uruguay after having a goalbound header handballed on the line and then missing the resulting penalty in stoppage time.

    The Black Stars also lost 1-0 to Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final in January.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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