Former Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, says he is “deeply sad” and “shocked” after learning he has been handed a lifetime ban by world football governing body, FIFA.
FIFA banned Nyantakyi for life on Tuesday, October 30, and fined him 500,000 Swiss Francs for multiple violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics after he was caught on tape by Anas Aremeyaw Anas accepting a cash gift from undercover reporters.
The final decision came after Nyantakyi was initially handed a 90-day provisional ban which was extended for another 45 days upon expiration.
Reacting to the news in a press statement on Wednesday, Nyantakyi, who already has a pending case in Ghana against investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, said he was heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to clear his name, while describing the ban as “unfair and harsh”.
“I wish to express my shock and deep sadness after receiving the decision from the FIFA Ethics Adjudicatory Committee on Tuesday.”
“My legal advisers are under my instructions to urgently appeal the decision as I think it was unfair, harsh and unwarranted,” part of the statement read.
“I will use all the legal channels available to seek redress and establish the facts I presented to the committee. Even though I have already resigned from all my football positions, it is important I establish the facts with the sole aim of clearing my name.”
“At this moment I am unable to provide any further details as my lawyers are reviewing the facts for appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Ghana, Africa and indeed across the globe for the overwhelming support and outpouring of sympathy.”
500,000 Swiss Francs translates to 2,414,276.46 Ghana cedis and 497,490.00 dollars respectively.
Although several other football officials the world over have been banned for life and also fined, Mr. Nyantakyi’s fine is quite hefty, at least much higher than what former Fifa Boss, Sepp Blatter paid.
A statement on Fifa’s website announcing the life ban said: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has banned Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”
“The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Nyantakyi guilty of having violated art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) and art. 22 (Commission) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, 2012 edition. As a consequence, Mr Nyantakyi is banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 500,000 has been imposed on Mr Nyantakyi.”
The credibility of the Ghana Football Association, which manages all national football activities in the country has been dented by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ investigative film which exposes massive rot and corruption in local football.
Anas and Tigereye PI petition to Fifa
On Wednesday, June 6, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee received a complaint and request from journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas through Cromwell Gray LLP, to commence investigations into the conduct of Kwesi Nyantakyi based on the content of the journalists’ latest investigative film titled ‘Number12’.
The piece captured Kwesi Nyantakyi in a compromised position. He was filmed supposedly taking $65,000 (£48,000) from an undercover reporter pretending to be a businessman.
The video among other things captured top officials of the football association including its President, Nyantakyi taking bribes to influence the invitation of players to the national team, influencing the duration of playing time offered to some players and influencing the selection of unfit players and referees to participate in games.
Also, more than 100 referees were caught on tape taking bribes to manipulate the outcome of games in a team’s favour.
Following the first screening of the video which attracted more than 3,000 persons, many called for a complete dissolution of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and immediate resignation of its embattled president, Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, who was also the first Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) eventually resigned from all football-related positions few days after the video was aired.
Then the suspension from Fifa followed.
At a point, he was investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service after President Akufo-Addo filed a complaint when he watched excerpts of Anas’ video, in which the former FA President was using his name to lure foreign investors.
Ghana gets FIFA-appointed Normalization Committee
Following the eventual halt of football activities in Ghana after the corruption exposé, the government of Ghana attempted to dissolve the FA using the courts, but faced stiff opposition from members of the FA.
Eventually, government and the FA came to an agreement to allow Fifa, to mediate in the matter. Fifa in the end, set up a Normalization Committee for the country in September 2018, which has been given a period of six months to sort out the issues and restore Ghana football to normalcy.
What becomes of Nyantakyi’s suits against Anas?
In the latter part of September 2018, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi sued undercover investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
That suit was the second time Mr. Nyantakyi was suing Anas and his Tigereye PI firm. The earlier suit also at a High Court, was specifically about defamation.
Nyantakyi wants the High Court to declare that Anas’ secret recording of their conversations as well as publishing same, violates his [Nyantakyi’s] “fundamental human rights to privacy and confidentiality in my dealings with others.”
He wants the court to also declare that the recordings violated his “right to dignity” because he wasn’t consulted before the piece was premiered, and thus prayed the apex court to award damages against Anas and his Tigereye PI firm for the said violations.
It is now unclear what becomes of Mr. Nyantakyi’s suits, considering the turn of events.