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One month on, Ghana football remains in limbo

Ghana football fan Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It has been the most chaotic month in Ghana football and, ominously for clubs, officials and fans, there seems to be no immediate end in sight.

A month after investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas laid bare allegations of corruption, match-fixing and underhand dealings in sponsorship packages, Ghana football remains at a standstill, with government and the remnants of the Ghana Football Association engaged in a battle to determine who should lead reforms.

World football governing body FIFA has put in place a two-man team to ensure Ghana does not miss out on any of it's international commitments. Dr Kofi Amoah, who headed the Local Organising Committee of the 2008 African Nations Cup, heads the committee which is also made up of GFA Technical Director Oti Akenteng.

That two-man team was as a result of a meeting between the government of Ghana and FIFA on how to reform the country's football without undue interference from government, and without affecting Ghana's immediate international football commitments.

Ghana is due to take part in the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in France from August 5-24, as well as the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay in November 2018. Ghana is also the host of the CAF Africa Women's Cup of Nations in November 2018.

On the men's front, there are two Nations Cup qualifiers involving the senior team, the Black Stars, against Kenya and Sierra Leone in September, but of immediate concern is an Africa Under-20 qualifier against Benin on July 13.

Preparations for the Under-20 Women's World Cup and the Under-20 Africa Cup qualifier have been stalled by the confusion around football administration. Now some members of the executive committee of the GFA are threatening that clubs may not release players for national assignments.

"We are told of a two-man liaison team to ensure Ghana fulfills international commitments, but who are they going to work with?" Wildred Osei, an executive committee member, asked KweséESPN.

Osei has suggested clubs could refuse to release players for international assignments if FIFA ignores the executive committee and other football executives in it's reforms, but Kudjoe Fianoo, who heads the Ghana League Clubs Association, insists that won't happen.

"The clubs need their players taking part in international competitions because it is an important marketing avenue for them," Fianoo told KweséESPN. "There is no way they will refuse to release players for any international competition, whatever the level of disagreement."

Fianoo worries that the uncertainty is unduly affecting clubs: "At the moment a lot of the clubs have no clue what is happening. We have to name our representatives for African club competitions on time, we want our calendar to be in line with the rest of the world because that affects our revenue streams, and there are club owners paying players without any activity. We need to sort this out as soon as possible in the interest of all the clubs."

Government has been quiet on its next line of action, except to say it is collaborating with FIFA on a way forward.

Members of the executive committee say any reforms won't work without their active involvement. "No-one understands the problems facing Ghana football without those who have run it," Osei adds. "We have the men capable of solving it and we want government to acknowledge that and make us a part of the solution."