August 11 - After Ghana's national humiliation during the World Cup, a Presidential Commission set up to investigate and subsequently take action has run into increasing trouble with FIFA over the perennial issue of government interference in football. FIFA's second warning about the Commission's terms of reference has led to a combative response from Commission members.
A written warning sent by Deputy General Secretary of FIFA, Markus Kattner to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) on August 7 reiterated that: "We would like to remind you FIFA member associations must manage their affairs independently, without any third party influence."
FIFA made clear that "should any decision be rendered by the Commission against GFA officials thereby removing them from office, it would be considered as interference in the GFA affairs and the case would be brought to FIFA's highest instances for appropriate sanctions."
Ghana set up the three-man Commission after Ghana President John Mahama demanded a review of the teams failure to meet (exaggerated) expectations on the pitch, having two players sent home for disciplinary reasons and having had to charter a plane to deliver $3 million to the players in Brazil.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Mahama Ayariga was initially conciliatory over FIFA's approach saying,
"We remain committed to engaging with FIFA constructively on how the commission's work can be done without offending."
"The Commission's mandate is simply to find out what happened in Brazil and I don't think that...offends FIFA. But if they should ask how, we will also look at our terms of reference."
However he is now demanding that "For us to able to digest FIFA's response which clearly is based partly on their reply we should also have access to what the GFA has communicated to FIFA... it is only fair for the Ghanaian public and the government."
Lawyer Moses Foh-Amoaning, one of the Commission members, was more pugnacious telling local media that, "we are bent on preserving the sovereignty of Ghana in the face of this exercise and we won't be intimidated by any power anywhere on this earth.
"Ghana belongs to Ghanaians and we deserve the right to inquire into matters of public interest and not even FIFA can stop us."
Warming to his theme Foh-Amoaning opined that "no power on this earth can prevent the sovereign people of Ghana from exercising its constitutional mandate and therefore under no circumstance will the Commission be intimidated from doing its work."
The terms of reference of the Commission, which is led by Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, Listowell Yesu Bukarson, and which starts work today include;
a) To enquire into matters relating to Ghana's Black Stars team's preparation for the tournament and possible lapses therein which might have caused their early exit from the tournament.
b) To enquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tournament.
The Commission is expected to complete its work within two weeks and has been granted judicial powers. If GFA officials are sanctioned by the Commission, Ghana would face a FIFA ban.