GFA forfeits ‘$5m’ sponsorship over match-fixing claims

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has missed out on a commercial deal with an unnamed sponsor valued at $5 million as a result of match-fixing allegations, according to reports.

Kumasi-based Pure FM reported that the governing body was on ‘the verge’ of sealing a multi-million pound sponsorship arrangement, before the deal was scrapped due to corruption claims, meaning the 2021/22 season was staged without a title sponsor.

In the final game of the previous season, Ashanti Gold hosted Inter Allies at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium, in a fixture which saw Ashgold run out 7-0 winners with a series of ‘bizarre’ goals.

However, Hashmin Musah – the player in question – reportedly told Kumasi FM in an interview that he netted two own goals, putting the ball past his own keeper to thwart an apparent bet that had been made prior to the fixture, predicting a 5-1 scoreline.

“I heard it in our hotel that a bet had been made for a correct scoreline of five goals to one against my club Inter Allies,” the player is quoted as having said in the interview. “I decided to spoil that bet because I don’t condone betting.”

He added: “After the game, my technical team commended me for spoiling the bet they had staked.

“I promised my coach that if he allows me to play from the bench I will spoil the bet. And after the game, my team congratulated me.”

The GFA confirmed it will lodge a complaint with the police for a criminal probe to commence.

“The Ghana Football Association wishes to inform all its members and the public that the Association has opened investigations into the Ghana Premier League match-day 34 game played between Ashanti Gold SC and Inter Allies FC at the Len Clay stadium at Obuasi on Saturday, July 17, 2021,” a statement read.

Both of the clubs involved have since distanced themselves, with Ashgold stating it would ‘unequivocally dissociate’ itself from the reports in a statement, reaffirming that the team played ‘competitively in the entire duration of the game’, scoring five goals ‘through hard work and team effort’. 

“We demonstrated throughout the game we were determined to play to the best of our abilities, and not to play any predetermined score line as it has been circulated,” a statement from the club read.

“We therefore vehemently dissociate ourselves from any match fixing and wish to urge all persons and organisations wrongfully accusing the club of match-fixing to desist from that, as we won’t hesitate to take legal action against such parties.

“As a renowned sports brand, we have always believed in fair play and would continue to act in the good interest of the game.”

Inter Allies FC, on the other hand, said the club’s management team ‘condemns any such conduct and activity that compromises the integrity of the game’.

“Without any prejudice to Ghana Football Association’s investigation, the Management of the Club has instituted an internal inquiry headed by Paul Parker Atitsogbui Esq to look into the matter and advise management accordingly,” a statement read.

“We wish to state that any official or player found culpable of having played any role in the said matter shall be reported to the Ghana Football Association for appropriate sanctions.”

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