What promised to be a heated Ghana Football Association (GFA) Congress ended on a cordial note at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra on Thursday, as the 123 delegates virtually endorsed the Normalisation Committee’s Draft Statutes to pave way for the electoral process.
Except for a few definitions and amendment of Articles 26 and 37, the delegates accepted the NC’s final draft statutes which was presented to the house by Naa Odofoley Nortey, cutting short a long winding debate.
At the end of the Congress, all the delegates joined the three-member NC, led by Dr Kofi Amoah, with Samuel Osei Kuffour and FIFA observers, Luca Nicola and Solomon Mudege, on the high table for a memorable photograph to signify their satisfaction with what transpired.
Conspicuously missing from the floor of congress was Mr Kofi Manu who, among others, was barred by the GFA from attending the event for being captured in Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Number 12 documentary.
Embattled Dr Amoah officially opened the congress by briefing the house of the NC’s activities in the past year and also announcing the reinstatement of Phar Rangers to Division One, after winning a case against the GFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Naa Odofoley then took centre stage to highlight the NC’s final draft which had been approved by FIFA following stakeholder consultations.
Chiefly among the new amendments proposed by the NC included the introduction of a chairman and an 11-member Board of Directors to replace the existing structure of a president and a 22-man Executive Committee, and a 120-member GFA Congress instead of 123.
According to the lawyer from the Legal Aid Board, the NC also introduced a new Article (80) which proposes the computation of time in the GFA Statutes to include Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
However, when the floor was opened for delegates to make their contributions, the CEO of Ashantigold SC, Frederick Acheampong, who represented the clubs tabled the motion for the re-instatement of President and General Secretary in place of chairman and CEO respectively, while proposing Executive Council as it used to be prior to the last reforms in 2005, to replace Board of Directors.
Regarding the composition of congress, the clubs proposed 110 members, with 15 members constituting the Executive Council. But Naa Odofoley raised an objection to the latter proposal by referring to the Company Code which requires a board not to be less than two and not more than 12.
This generated a brief debate upon which the CEO of Hearts of Oak, Mr Fred Moore, suggested to the delegates to approve the NC’s Draft Statutes which had already been approved by FIFA so that football could move forward.
He stressed that since congress could not get everything right in a day, there was the need for congress to adopt the statutes to ensure progress.
That prompted the intervention of the FIFA observer, Luca Nicola, who said though congress had the authority to amend the statutes, it had the option to adopt the NC’s Draft Statutes to make way for the election process to begin or amend the document for it to go to FIFA again for approval and prolong the NC’s stay in office.
That infuriated the delegates as Emmanuel Larbi Amoah, representing Medeama SC, urged his colleagues to go ahead with the amendments even if that would take another six months.
At this stage, an angry Kojo Yankah, chairman of the Western Region Football Association (WRFA), lashed out at FIFA for leaving out the clubs, who are the main stakeholders of Ghana Football, from the normalisation process, while dealing with only the government.
He also insisted that the RFA slots at congress should be maintained since they developed football at the grassroots.
Mr Yankah’s submission provoked the founder of King Faisal, Alhaji Gruzah, to take the RFA chairmen to the cleaners, describing them as mere ‘Goro Boys’ who did not deserve their current slots.
As expected, hell broke loose immediately afterwards, as the RFA representatives present descended on Gruzah in disapproval, halting the business on the floor for sometime.
However, when calm was finally restored, Gruzah did the honourable thing by apologising to his colleagues for the unsavoury remark.
As the debate went back and forth, Dr Amoah advised the delegates to adopt the statutes to pave way for the elections so they could make the necessary amendments after taking over.
Immediately afterwards, Randy Abbey intervened to explain that it was not as easy as that, as some of the statutes could not be amended until after four years.
He later appealed to the chairman to allow members a short break to confer and come out with a summary of the relevant amendments in order not to drag the session, which was granted.
On the resumption of congress after an hour, the delegates decided to adopt the NC’s proposed 120-member congress per Article 26, as well as a 12-member Executive Council for Article 37.
In addition, it proposed a two-term of four years for the president of the Executive Council, while members could be elected for three terms. Also, the vice president shall be chosen by members of the Executive Council after they have been elected into office.
Finally, 115 delegates voted for the adoption of the amended statutes, while the entire house adopted the Election Regulations by popular acclamation.