Corruption in officiating has had negative effect on our football – Osafo Marfo

Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo says Ghana football has taken a step back in development due to the growing level of corruption in the local game. He was speaking at the launch of the National Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week in Accra, a government initiative to tackle corruption in Ghana. Mr Osafo Marfo’s comments echo the growing concern of the Ghanaian populace that football games in the Ghana Premier League is clouded by bribery that breeds friendliness despite the calls for competitiveness in the top flight to enhance the beauty of the game. Results in the League are widely thought to be predetermined as owners of clubs and other major stakeholders of local football are generally thought to be involved in negotiations prior to crucial matches across a season. According to the former Minister of Youth and Sports, this has deteriorated the quality of football in Ghana and eventually rubbed off the senior national team as well. “When I became minister for sports one of the first group of people I met were officiating people for football matches,” Mr Osafo Marfo said in his speech at the anti-corruption week launch. “I invited all them to my office because the league becomes important when people see fairness. You destroy the league of this country, when people know that matches have been fixed, corruption got so deep after 2010 into football playing in this country. Ghanaian know more are interested in our local league. And therefore corruption in the officiating in the soccer matches premier division has had a very negative effect on our football. “To the extent that, now when we have Black Stars, out of the 18 people we put on the pitch aside of the Goalkeepers there’s hardly anybody picked from the local league, what does it tell you? Certainly not the best way, we used to get about the half of the Black star from the premier league and we used to get most them from Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko, Eleven Wise, Great Olympics, about 4 or 5 teams will give us almost Black Star and we were very competitive, conquered Africa. “These teams also conquered Africa in their own right, now how are our teams now faring? Those who win the league here in Ghana cannot even go through the first group knockout on the African continent.” The Ghana Football Association’s major stakeholders met for annual summit recently, and made proposals that would wipe out corruption in local football. The proposal, that will later be presented to Congress, includes rewarding those who report bribery cases in the GPL.