On behalf of the management team of Brong Ahafo United F/C, I wish to appeal to your outfit to subject its judgement on the case involving our club and three others, participating in the Brong Ahafo Region Division One League, namely, Aduana F/C, Bechem United F/C, and Berlin F/C to scrutiny to avert a miscarriage of justice with its attendant consequences on Ghana soccer.
A few years ago, the F.A promulgated a widely publicized law, which was considered a panacea to board room wrangling and rampant protests over the irritating issue of unqualified players that had characterized our local league and rendered it uninteresting and unworthy of investment. The F.A in a bid to sanitize our league and rid it of controversies, introduced the now infamous article 28. This article states inter-alia that "players may only be registered during one of the two annual registration periods. That is;
(a) The first registration period shall begin after the completion of the season and shall normally end before the new season starts. This period may not exceed 12 weeks. The GFA shall direct when registration shall open and close". (b)"The GFA shall publish the list of all players registered by all clubs"
(c) "Fourteen days from the close of registration shall be allowed for publication of the list of players registered and additional 14 days for verification, after which every player shall be deemed to have been duly registered, unless such registration of any player has been validly challenged within the period stated above.
The mind-boggling question is whether, FA officials are aware of the existence of an article (28), whose introduction, was celebrated amidst much funfare? If they do, are they simply afraid of its implementation to deter those who do not work hard to win points on the field of play from employing all kinds of tricks to ruin the efforts of their more serious and successful counterparts? Is the FA dilemma, a simple case of a toothless bull dog barking more than it can bite?
Is the FA advertently or inadvertently by its actions and inactions encouraging those who are passionate lovers of the game of soccer, and practioners of fair play, to drag it to the courtroom? It is our hope that the FA would do itself a lot of good by salvaging itself from the clutches of inconsistency. Why the inability to implement article 28 which the FA considers a potent antidote to curb player protests and deduction of points? What importance does the FA attach to the words, publication, verification, shall and duly?
By publication, the FA intends to make the list of players available to the public for each and everyone to know which players have been registered to play for a particular club at a particular time period. Verification affords the public to check to find out whether the information provided on a registered player is true or accurate, while the word duly, on the other hand implies information that is expected or correct. "Shall" connotes what is mandatory and cannot be abused.
If one ponders about the explanations given to the key words that constitute the article under consideration, it becomes crystal clear that the FA grossly erred in adjudicating over the BA United versus Aduana F/C and co matter. This is because, the said Douglas Yeboah has played openly for BA United F/C for almost a year and half, within which period there have been two publications and verifications.
Why should the football governing body not treat the Aduana protest with the contempt that it deserves? Is it the football authorities duty to investigate and prosecute criminal matters? Granting that it wields such authority; does it have to contravene its own statutory orders? When were the Aduana and their cohorts protests lodged? Does the FA seem to suggest that, for one and a half years, the officials of Barcelona F/C who accuse BA United of impropriety and theft not aware of the constant publications and verifications which are annual rituals governing the registration of players nationwide?
With the FA upholding the Aduana and co; protest, is our revered football controlling body setting a precedent that renders an article they have so painstakingly promulgated inefficacious? Was the FA not aware that clubs like BA and Tema Youth would steal and falsify player documents to get players registered? On a more serious note, both the Disciplinary and Appeals Committees erred by placing much emphasis on the mere verbal denial of a name, while at the same time disregarding the given names and dates of birth on important life documents like the Baptismal and National Health Insurance Cards in the administration of justice.
The Appeals Committee which felt BA United officials had falsified the player name to hide his identity from being detected, interestingly, failed to take into account flippant changes in the same player dates of birth and signatories on every single document Barcelona Officials tended in evidence to buttress their claims. The documents available indicated that Douglas Yeboah has five contrasting dates of birth and seven different signatories.
What else did the Appeals Committee need to confirm the unreliability and wiliness of Douglas Yeboah and his so called officials? For expert judgment on such delicate issues, can the FA refer such matter to the law courts? Anyway, having chosen to punish BA United on the grounds of falsification of a player name, why did the same discerning body fail to effect punishment to culprits on account of the notable changes regarding dates of birth and signatories?
Another issue that cannot be glossed over is the fact that, the FA and its committees failed to appreciate submissions on pertinent questions relating to law which were raised in the course of proceedings. Does that suggest, the FA intends to hang and destroy BA United without recourse to the law? It appears that the FA has a very different microscope with which it subjects matters relating to BA United to scrutiny.
To set the records straight, the FA in applying sanctions against our club, quoted article 34 (1g) and consequently deducted 18 points in the case involving our club and three others. Surprisingly however, the FA which found Tema Youth culpable of the same crime of using an unqualified player, and quoted the same article 34 (1g) in applying sanctions, deducted 6 points in a case involving Tema Youth and two other clubs. We do not intend to bring the integrity of the football controlling authority into disrepute, but to demand an explanation on why the same law handed to offenders of the same crime should have contrasting faces?
Finally,the NO EVIDENCE Press conference, purported to have been held by officials of Bechem United should be disregarded in one breath. They ought to contest for points on the field of play and not resort to underhand dealings to secure a place in the premiership. The FA should not forget that it was the same Bechem United who held a press conference last season after their game against Bofoakwa Tano in Sunyani, 1calling for the FA to take refrees Vincent Otoo and Charles Ablor to the psychiatric hospital to check on their mental faculty.
If our friends from Bechem United cannot work under the rule of law,they have no business participating in the Division one league. We urge the FA to be resolute and more proactive in implementing its own policies without fear or favour to move Ghana soccer forward. God bless you.
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