By Mark Gleeson
Ghana’s Football Association (GFA) denied British media reports on Monday that it had agreed to rig international matches and asked Ghanaian police to investigate two GFA officials the reports linked to the deal.
The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 television’s Dispatches programme in London said they uncovered the case during a six-month investigation into match-fixing.
GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi said the reports were “a representation of half-truths and half-lies.
“It’s not true that we have agreed with match fixers or people who intend to organise matches of convenience between the Black Stars and any opponent in the future,” he said from Maceio in Brazil where Ghana are based for the World Cup finals.
Nyantakyi has since added, in a BBC interview, that he intended to sue The Daily Telegraph and the Channel 4 show.
FIFA said they had been contacted by the Ghana Football Association on the matter.
“In line with standard procedures, FIFA’s Security Division is evaluating the matter. It is important to note that we have no indications that the integrity of the World Cup has been compromised,” a spokesman told Reuters.
A reporter for the newspaper and a former investigator for world soccer’s governing body FIFA claimed to represent a company that would buy the rights to friendly matches.
The two officials said they could help recruit referees who would rig the matches and the Daily Telegraph said a contract they submitted to the GFA spelled out conditions of the deal, including who would appoint the referees.
The Telegraph carried a video on its website showing what it said was a meeting between the two GFA officials and the former FIFA investigator where the match-fixing was discussed.
“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has requested the Ghana Police Service to investigate two persons for misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud,” the association said in a statement on its website.
“The GFA did not sign the contract (and) the two gentlemen did not make such corrupt offers to the GFA or its officials,” it said.
“We wish to assure the public that we will not tolerate such misrepresentations and we will seek strong sanctions against such individuals if such claims are found to be true.”
Ghana held Germany to a 2-2 draw in one of the most exciting games of the World Cup on Saturday.
“We have explained (the allegations to the players) and our motive is to insulate them from some of these challenging publications that are intended to disturb the focus of our team,” Nyantakyi added on Monday.
“They seem to appreciate what we are trying to do. I can assure everyone that this negative reportage has no negative effect on the psyche and the focus of our players.”