Ghana Premier League in limbo - New sponsorship deal threatened

BY: Rosalind K. Amoh
Amarkai Amarteifio — Board Chairman of Olympics and head of the club’s legal team
Amarkai Amarteifio — Board Chairman of Olympics and head of the club’s legal team

An unexpected injunction slapped on the Ghana Football Association (GFA) by Accra Great Olympics last Monday has yet again thrown the football season into disarray, casting doubt over the commencement of the Ghana Premier League which was originally scheduled to kick-off this weekend.

 

The Accra High Court order did not only set the new football season in limbo but also threatened the unveiling of new sponsors for the Premier League after a planned launch of the competition was called off at the eleventh hour last Monday evening, hours before the GFA General Secretary, Isaac Addo, had been served with the court after by a bailiff.

The unpleasant news forced the Executive Committee (ExCo) of the GFA to take a firm decision at a meeeting yesterday to suspend its Ordinary Congress and its related seminars slated for today and tomorrow. The Congress, as usual, was to officially climax the 2016/2017 season and usher in the 2017/2018 season.

The disturbing hold-up also affected other football activities, including the Division One League.


Last Monday, Olympics represented by their team of lawyers, carried out their threat of placing an injunction on the start of the Premier League until their protest with the Appeals Committee of the FA had been dealt with, as they believed the decision of the committee, if it went their way, could get them out of relegation and back into the premiership this season.

Having lost a protest against Bechem United for using an unqualified player in their Match Day 7 Game against Elmina Sharks, Olympics appealed to the Appeals Committee but the ruling of the case was delayed.

The General Secretary of the FA, Isaac Addo, confirmed receipt of the suit, but indicated that the association’s legal team had been put to work to deal with the “matter as quickly as possible.”

“It is unfortunate, but there is very little the FA can do other than comply with the legal suit. However, the legal team has also gotten down to work to get it sorted out.

“With the current situation, both the seminar for clubs and Congress, scheduled for Prampram on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, have been called off until further notice,” Mr Addo told the Graphic Sports.

Frank Nelson Nwokolo and Delali Senaye, chairman and vice chairman respectively of the Marketing Committee of the FA, were also very unhappy about the development, saying “it was going to have a very bad effect on the clubs.

“It is unfortunate that it had to be this late for the programme to be thrown out of gear. The marketing committee had worked so hard to get things done, and just when we were getting things moving, then one club decides to place its parochial interest ahead of all the other clubs,” said Mr Senaye.

“It is unfair as clubs were gearing up for the start of the league this weekend, not to count the cost involved in preparing for the launch and congress.

“As club executives as well, it is going to further affect our already bleeding coffers. Such last minute legal threats on Ghana football is becoming one too many and often and perhaps, it is time an action is taken to protect the interest of the larger group,” bemoaned Mr Nwokolo, a director of Accra Hearts of Oak.

Not only that, the caterer who had also been commissioned to provide services for the seminar and congress at Prampram was also counting the cost and the inconvenience of dealing with the purchases she had made towards the two-day event.

Yesterday, as the GFA Executive Committee met to set the agenda for the season and congress, upset clubs representatives had also converged on the FA secretariat, counting the cost of the postponement, as well as arguing over what could be done.

The ExCo members were in pensive mood when they came out of their meeting, almost all of them refusing to comment on the issue.

Ghana football has been embroiled in similar suits over the last three seasons, with another case between the association and King Faisal, still in court.