Ghana FA dissolved as African football leader implicated in corruption scandal

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has been dissolved by the country’s government following revelations of “widespread” corruption that implicates president Kwesi Nyantakyi, one of the most senior figures in African football and a member of the ruling Fifa Council of the world governing body.

The Ghanaian government has taken action in the wake of an undercover documentary made by local investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the BBC Africa division of the UK public-service broadcaster.

Ghana has not qualified for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia, but the government’s actions against the GFA run the risk of Fifa intervening, as the world governing body frowns on government interference in the running of national associations. The news also comes ahead of the vote to decide the host of the 2026 World Cup on June 13, where the GFA was expected to side for Morocco against the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The documentary claims that Nyantakyi, who is also first vice-president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), took $65,000 (€54,000) from undercover reporters posing as businessmen to secure favour with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and other senior government officials, in the hope of landing favourable business deals.

The documentary also claimed to show referees and football officials in other African countries accepting money from the undercover journalists, including one Kenyan referee who was set to officiate at the World Cup in Russia. Aden Range Marwa was set to be a referee’s assistant, but the Kenyan national referees’ association said he will no longer officiate at the World Cup after being shown accepting $600.

A statement signed by Ghana’s Information Minister, Mustapha Amid, read: “The documentary exposes the gross malfunctioning of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), characterised by the widespread fraud, corruption and bribery. As a result of the pervasive nature of the rot within GFA, government has decided as follows:

“The conduct of all officials of the GFA, together with that of the suspended Acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robert Sarfo Mensah, shown in the documentary to be involved in questionable, potentially criminal acts, is forthwith, referred to the police for further investigation and appropriate action. The police are to take all such relevant measures as are necessary to ensure that the contents of the documentary are rapidly and thoroughly investigated.

“Having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top GFA officials, top NSA officials, match commissioners, football administrators and referees, government has decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA dissolved.

“Government will shortly, thereafter, announce provisional measures to govern football activities in the country, until a new body is duly formed; and government will communicate these decisions to the Confederation of African Football and the Federation of International Football Association, and engage with them on these developments to chart a way forward for Ghana football.”