The Ghana Football Association has officially responded to the match manipulation allegations raised by the South African Football Association (SAFA) before the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Quoting copiously from FIFA laws, the Ghana FA in its response, described SAFA's protest as incompetent, frivolous and an attempt to soil the World Cup brand and Black Stars image.
Citing Article 14 (2) of the Regulations FIFA World Cup 2022 Preliminary Competition to back its claims, the GFA argued that SAFA had failed to follow laid down procedures and timelines of lodging protest after a game.
The said provision states, "Unless otherwise stipulated in this article, protests SHALL BE submitted in writing to the FIFA Match Commissioner within two hours of the match in question and followed up with a full written report, including a copy of the original protest, to be sent by email to the FIFA General Secretariat within 24hours of the end of the match, otherwise they shall be disregarded."
To the GFA, since its counterpart in South Africa failed to meet the requirement of that mandatory provision, their protest should be considered as unmeritorious.
Referee's Conduct "Wrongful & Unlawful"
SAFA, had earlier called on the world football's governing body to investigate what it termed as "wrongful and unlawful conduct of the match referee and other officials, concerning match fixing, match manipulation including corruption and bribery".
This was after what it (SAFA) claims were a number of questionable decisions throughout the match.
Their bone of contention was the penalty decision that helped Ghana win the crucial match 1-0 at the Cape Coast Sports stadium.
The spot kick was awarded when Daniel Amartey went down for what the referee Maguette Ndiaye considered as obstruction by defender Rushine de Reuck.
Andre Ayew stepped up to score the penalty which sent the Black Stars through to the final stage of qualification and ended South Africa's dreams of playing at Qatar 2022.
On Wednesday, FIFA confirmed that it has received SAFA's official protest and said it would be considered by the Disciplinary Committee on November 23.
FIFA subsequently wrote to the Ghana FA and asked that the latter sends a response to the petition latest by close of day (Saturday).
Impose "Fine" For "Fishing Expedition"
The GFA, in its official response to FIFA, further described the SAFA protest as a fishing expedition lacking in merit, and rather urged FIFA to impose a huge fine on SAFA for seeking to tarnish the World Cup brand and Ghana's image, to serve as a deterrent to others.
"SAFA seeks to send the respected FIFA Disciplinary Committee on a fool's errand or fishing without any direction or evidence whatsoever....the failure to provide prima facie evidence (infact no evidence was provided whatsoever) must be punished severely by the respected Disciplinary Committee. Reputations made over years must not be allowed to be tarnished this way. Note that no mention was made of any Ghanaian officials engaged in match-fixing, corruption or betting," portions of the GFA's strongly worded response read.
Click here for the GFA’s response sent to FIFA...
Source: Nana Kwadwo Asante Agyemang/Peacefmonline.com
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