The president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, yesterday applied the co-efficient formula to explain how the $577,500 appearance fee was obtained and shared by management during the Black Stars Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign.
He emphasised that the number seven, which was stated in the Authority Note to represent management, was just a co-efficient used by the FA and did not necessarily represent the composition of the Black Stars Management Committee.
Giving evidence before the Justice Dzamefe Commission in his second appearance yesterday, Mr Nyantakyi stated that five out of the six Black Stars Management Committee members who were in Brazil, comprising Moses Armah, Yaw Boateng Gyan, Felix Ansong, Kwame Ofosu Bamfo and himself actually shared $165,000, while the remaining $412,500 was shared by many others, including FA officials and staff, and Ministry of Youth and Sports officials.
‘The number of people who benefited are in excess of 20, including Mr Gyimah (the Acting General Secretary of the GFA) himself,’ Nyantakyi told the commission, recalling that that had been the practice since the previous government approved a proposal for a remuneration package for FA officials in 2006, though the coefficient is not constant.
The FA president thanked the chairman of the commission, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, for advising on the need to prepare a claim sheet for all beneficiaries to sign in future for record purposes, while promising to furnish the commission with details on beneficiaries of the appearance fee.
Asked why the word honorarium was cancelled for appearance fee in the Authority Note which was used to collect the money from the Ministry’s chief accountant, Mr Prosper Apasu, Mr Nyantakyi said that was ostensibly done by Mr Gyimah to distinguish it from the subsequent honoraria which management was going to enjoy had the team progressed in the competition.
Explanation of management
The FA boss explained that the term management, which applies to all the national teams, did not comprise only management committee members but other key officials who contribute directly towards the success of the team.
Stars appearance fee saga
Mr Nyantakyi told the commission that after the World Cup draw, the FA proposed a $75,000 appearance fee on February 5, 2014 which was met with a $100,000 counter-proposal by the players.
He said different scenarios came into play during the negotiations and at a meeting with the players in Montenegro on March 4 this year, the amount was increased to $82,500, representing 10 per cent increase of the 2010 figure.
According to him, the issue came up for discussion again at a Cabinet meeting on March 13 where it was decided that $82,500 was what the nation could afford due to the prevailing economic conditions.
He said there was a stalemate until the eve of Ghana’s opening match against USA in Natal on June 15 when the Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, intervened to announce that the government had approved the $100,000 appearance fee.
Mode of payment
Mr Nyantakyi further revealed that it took two separate phone calls by President John Mahama to assure the players that the money would be sent to them.
He said another long meeting over the issue followed on the eve of departure to Brasilia, leading to the delay of the flight for two hours, prompting FIFA to step in to ascertain the cause of the lateness.
According to him the FA seized the opportunity to write to FIFA for a bailout after which FIFA General Secretary, Jerome Valcke, requested a contract with the players and their bank accounts details.
‘The players refused it because they wanted the money in cash. I personally spoke to Jerome Valcke, who is a good friend of mine, to see if it was possible to raise $2.3million cash for the players but he said he would be killed, if he transferred that amount of money to Brazil.’
Upon request by Justice Dzamefe Mr Nyantakyi gave an interesting eye-witness narration of how Muntari assaulted management member, Moses Armah, aka Mospacka, at a crisis meeting .
He said at a meeting convened at the instance of the players in connection with the delayed appearance fee, the players aired their grievances after which he and Mr Ansong addressed them.
He said when it came to Mr Armah, Muntari suddenly rose up to question his status and then moved menacingly to give him two blows before they were separated.
He said the player later followed Mospacka to his room to destroy his phones and other electronic gadgets in a thrilling drama which saw him (Nyantakyi) using his hand to block a glass targetted at the victim, amidst shouts that he (Mospacka) should leave the team hotel.
Mr Nyantakyi revealed that Mospacka eventually vacated the hotel around 2 a.m. to lodge in another hotel, while the Brazilian security personnel detailed to the Ghana team requested for Muntari’s arrest and prosecution.
‘We took two quick decisions by suspending Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng, who had earlier had a clash with the coach. They didn’t even show any remorse afterwards,’ he noted.
At this stage, an upset Moses Foh-Amoaning stepped in to stress the need for the players to understand that there is a certain behaviour they are expected to exhibit while playing for the nation.
He urged the FA to draw the line so that any player who crosses it could be dealt with.
Mr Nyantakyi seized the opportunity to apologise to the entire nation for the Stars’ ignominous World Cup campaign in Brazil.
‘I want to plead on behalf of the players that we should let bygones be bygones; they have opened a new page and are now cooperating with us.
‘I think this is an important watershed in the history of the team and the players really felt the rejection in Kumasi; even Togo was much friendlier,’ he pointed out.
‘We hope to build a more disciplined team,’ he hinted, while responding that any sanctioned player could be brought back into the team and helped to become a better person if only he shows remorse.
He dismissed the match-fixing allegations levelled against him by the UK-based Daily Mail and said FIFA had referred the matter back to the GFA and is currently being addressed by its Ethics Committee, chaired by Nana Adjei Ampofo.
A peeved Nyantakyi said he intended suing Daily Mail and, therefore, travelled to the UK last week to consult three laywers for legal advice.
The rather interesting evidence was nearly marred right from the onset when Justice Dzamefe asked Nyantakyi to swear the oath again following an error which the FA president later admitted.