Ghana dissolves football association after cash gifts scandal

  • Published
Media caption,

African referees filmed taking cash

Ghana has dissolved its national football association after its president was filmed apparently accepting a "cash gift".

Kwesi Nyantakyi was pictured taking $65,000 (£48,000) from an undercover reporter pretending to be a businessman keen to invest in Ghanaian football.

Mr Nyantakyi is vice-president of the Confederation of African Football and also a member of the Fifa Council.

He has not commented on the allegations.

How Fifa, football's world governing body, will react to the decision to dissolve the body remains to be seen. Its laws do not allow government interference in football administration, and it has previously banned countries, including Nigeria, from international competition for falling foul of the rule.

Correspondents say the undercover investigation by controversial journalist Anas Aremayaw Anas has raised questions about the nature of football in Africa.

His documentary, entitled When Greed and Corruption Become the Norm, was handed to authorities last month and publicly screened for the first time on Wednesday.

BBC Africa's new investigations unit, Africa Eye, has had exclusive access to the footage.

It shows more than 100 football officials - most of them West African referees - receiving cash gifts, despite Fifa rules expressly forbidding it.

Among those caught on camera was Kenyan referee Adel Range Marwa, who was bound for the World Cup in Russia until he resigned after he was filmed receiving a $600 "gift". He denies any wrongdoing.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Kwesi Nyantakyi was one of the officials highlighted in the film

Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Ghana's information minister, said the government had "decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA [Ghana Football Association] dissolved", citing the "widespread nature of the apparent rot".

He said interim measures to govern Ghanaian football would be announced soon, pending the formation of a new association.

The GFA said in a statement that it would co-operate with any investigation.

Since taking charge of the GFA, Mr Nyantakyi has made tackling corruption a major part of his message.

However, the undercover film shows him apparently placing the $65,000 "shopping money" into a black plastic bag. He is under investigation for fraudulently using Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo's name - by order of the president himself.

The filmmaker's team had invited Mr Nyantakyi to a luxury hotel in the Middle East with the promise of meeting a wealthy businessman they said was interested in a sponsorship deal with the GFA.

In the film, Mr Nyantakyi went on to both negotiate and write up the sponsorship deal on behalf of the GFA, which could have allowed a cut to go to a company he owned.

Correspondents say that had the fictitious deal gone ahead, he could potentially have made $4.5m from the diversion of funds.