HomeSportsClubs kick against 18-club Division One League next season

Clubs kick against 18-club Division One League next season

- Advertisement -

About fifty per cent of delegates of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Congress has kicked against the proposed 18-club Super League proposed by the GFA Executive Council at a recent ordinary congress.

The GFA’s decision, if allowed, will see 30 Division One League (DOL) clubs being relegated at the end of the 2021/2022 season to pave way for the novelty 18-club league.

However, the petition, signed by 51 Premier League and Division One League (DOL) and copied to CAF and FIFA, among others, called on the GFA to convene an immediate Extraordinary Congress to resolve the issue and also amend some portions of the GFA Statutes.

Below is the unedited petition:

THE GENERAL SECRETARY
GHANA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
ACCRA
 
DEAR SIR
 
REQUISITION FOR A MEETING OF AN EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESS OF THE GHANA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (GFA) PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 33 CLAUSE 2 OF THE 2019 STATUTES OF THE GFA.

We, the underlisted MEMBERS of the GFA CONGRESS, in exercise of our Membership rights hereby requisition the EXECUTIVE COUNCIL of the GFA to convene a meeting of an extraordinary congress of the GFA as per article 33(2) of the GFA Statutes. Our request is specifically asking Congress to CONSIDER and APPROVE the following agenda items.
 
AGENDA:
 
  1. To consider and delete article 81 and in particular 81(6) from the 2019 GFA Statutes.
 
  2. To consider and delete article 39(k) from the 2019 GFA Statutes
 
  3. To consider and approve an amendment of article 27 by adding a new article 27(q) as follows: To approve and issue regulations for the organization of all competitions of the GFA
 
4. We hereby resolve that, commencement of the Division One League scheduled for 19th November 2021 be suspended by the Executive Council pending the final determination of all issues raised by Members of the GFA Congress through this RESOLUTION at a Meeting of an Extraordinary Congress of the GFA.
 
5. Further Amendments as follows:
 
(A) Article 37:

Please replace this clause:

Two (2) RFA Chairmen elected by the ten (10) Regional Chairmen
With the following clause:

All ten (10) RFA Chairmen elected by the Regional Football Associations
 
(B) Article 26:

Please replace this clause:

For the Women’s Premier League Competition Clubs, eight (8) delegates of which at least five

(5) shall be women

With the following clause:

For the Women’s Premier League Competition Clubs, sixteen (16) delegates of which at least
five (5) shall be women;
 
(C) Article 26

Please replace this clause:

For each of the ten (10) Regional Football Associations, two (2) delegates
With the following clause:

For each of the ten (10) Regional Football Associations, three (3) delegates
 
JUSTIFICATION:

1. Basis for a call for an Extraordinary Meeting of Congress Article 33 clause 2 of the GFA STATUTES, 2019 provides that:

“The Executive Council shall convene an Extraordinary Congress by a Resolution of the Executive Council or upon the request of not less than 50% of the Members of GFA. Such a request shall be made in writing. The request shall specify the items to be included on the Agenda for the meeting.”

The undersigned, constituting at least 50% of the Membership of the GFA have exercised their rights in asking the Executive Council to convene an extraordinary Meeting of Congress as per Statutes of the the GFA.
 
2. TO CONSIDER AND DELETE THE ENTIRE ARTICLE 81 and in particular ARTICLE 81(6) OF THE GFA STATUTES, 2019

At the 2021 Congress of the GFA held on 28th October 2021, the General Secretary presented a new structure for Men’s competitions of the GFA dubbed “the Football Pyramid”. According to the General Secretary, at the end of the 2021/2022 football season 30 clubs will be demoted/relegated from the Division One League to the Regional Division Two Leagues to pave way for the creation of a new 18-club super league. The decision of the Executive Council appears to be based on article 81(6) of the GFA Statutes.
 
(I) A. Legal Basis for creation of the new super league for Division One League Clubs

Article 81(6) provides that: “The number of delegates representing the Division One League shall be reduced to 18 (down from the current 48) at the latest by the end of the second football season following the adoption of these Statutes.”

With the greatest respect, the Executive Council of the GFA misconceived the meaning of DELEGATES for CLUBS under the above article. In the whole of the 2019 GFA Statutes, no where is provision made for an 18-club Division One League. Article 81(6) is the only clause which dealt with 18 delegates but not an 18 club league. Delegates and clubs are not synonyms and cannot be used interchangeably. In fact, in its current text, clubs and delegates have been utilized in different articles with different meanings and understandings. Article 26 of the GFA Statutes illustrates the point clearer when it provides that: “The Congress shall be composed of one hundred and twenty (124) delegates. The number of delegates is allocated as follows:

For each of the eighteen (18) Premier League Clubs, two (2) delegates;
For the Women’s Premier League Competition Clubs, eight (8) delegates of which at least five
(5) shall be women;
For the Division One League Clubs, forty eight (48) delegates
For each of the ten Regional Football Associations, two (2) delegates
For the Schools & Colleges, one (1) delegate
For the Beach Soccer Association, one (1) delegate
For the Futsal Association, one (1) delegate
For the Security Services Sports Association (SESSA), one (1) delegate
For the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG), two (2) delegates
For the Coaches Association of Ghana, two (2) delegates
For the Referees Association of Ghana (RAG), two (2) delegates
For the Juvenile Clubs Association, two (2) delegates.
 
Article 26 created 36 DELEGATES for the premier league clubs but there are only 18 clubs
participating in the premier league. The same article created 8 DELEGATES for the Women’s
Premier League Clubs but there are 16 clubs participating in the Premier Women’s League. The
Division One League is the only competition whose delegates is equal to the number of clubs
participating in the league. A reduction of delegates does not result in a corresponding reduction
in clubs unless it is expressly provided in the Statutes.
 
 
Article 81(6) proposes to reduce the number of delegates for Division One League clubs from 48
to 18. However, there’s no provision in the statutes for the reduction of clubs in the Division One
League from 48 to 18.
 
 
B. Competitions recognised under the 2019 GFA Statutes
 
Article 71 of the GFA Statutes provides a list of all football competitions recognized and played
within the territory of Ghana. Any competition, by form or substance not defined under the
article is null and void. The recognized competitions are:
“a) Premier League
b) FA cup Competition
c) Division One League
d) Regional 2nd Division League
e) District 3rd and 4th Division Leagues
f) Inter Schools and Colleges Competitions
g) Juvenile Leagues
h) Women Football Leagues
i) Friendly matches (domestic and international)
j) FIFA Sanctioned matches and international friendly matches
k) CAF sanctioned matches (Champions League/Confederation)
l) WAFU sanctioned matches
m) GHALCA competitions.”
Based on the forgoing, there is no legal basis for the creation of a Super League for Division One
League clubs.
 
C. Article 81(6) cannot be a transitional Provision

A transitional provision is a provision that “regulates the coming into operation of [an] enactment and (where necessary) modifies its effect during the period of transition”. See Halsbury’s Laws of England (LexisNexis 5th ed, 2012), vol 96 at [694]. In a similar vein, Thornton says that the function of a transitional provision is “to make special provision for the application of legislation to circumstances which exist at the time when the legislation comes into force”. See H. Xanthaki, Thornton’s Legislative Drafting (Bloomsbury Professional, 5th ed, 2013) at [17.1], previous editions of which have been cited with approval by the House of Lords in Regina v Secretary of State for Social Security, Ex parte Britnell [1991] 1 WLR 198 at 202; [1991] 2 All ER 726 at 730.

From the above legal authorities the transitional provisions of the GFA Statutes should have taken care of issues that required the attention of the GFA during the period of transition. In an unfortunate twist of events, article 81(6) seeks to forecast that 2 years after the adoption of the
GFA Statutes in 2019 (after exit of the Normalization Committee from Office) the number of delegates for Division One League Clubs should be reduced from 48 to 18. This provision is not a transitional provision because it seeks to take care of the fundamental issue of delegates outside
the period of transition. The same provision is further problematic because it is inconsistent with an operative part of the Statutes as provided in article 26 on the composition of Congress.

The entire transitional provisions, and in particular Article 81(6) cannot amend an operative part of the GFA Statutes as provided under article 26 either expressly or by implication. It is therefore inapplicable and should be deleted from the GFA Statutes.
 
D. Article 81(6) of the GFA Statutes is arbitrary and an infringement on the democratic right of 30 clubs to participate and vote at Congresses of the GFA Article 81(6) of the GFA Statutes seeks to dis-enfranchise 30 clubs of their democratic and inalienable right to participate and vote at congresses of the GFA without due process. It is arbitrary, conflictual with article 26 of the GFA Statutes and contrary to the human rights
provisions of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

(II) SPORTING REASONS

ASSUMING WITHOUT ADMITTING THAT THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL’S decision to demote 30 Division One League Clubs at the end of the 2021/2022 Football season and create a new Super League was legal, we wish to respectfully disagree with the same and resolve that for sporting and other reasons, the decision has the tendency to raise down the foundations of football in Ghana as follows:
 
A. The decision to relegate 30 out of 48 Division One Clubs in Ghana (representing 62.5% of clubs in the Division One League) in one DAY is unprecedented in the annals of the history of development of football in Ghana, Africa and the world at large. It has no justification in world football jurisprudence, or development. It rather offends the cohesive power of football as a veritable platform for unity and integration of the people. It appears to us as an arbitrary decision that limit rather than expand the frontiers for opportunities for several people to participate in the Division One League in Ghana.
 
  B. Breeding grounds for insecurity, breach of the peace, violent and unethical conduct A league designed to relegate 30 clubs in one day will generate unhealthy competition, violent and unethical conduct. Some clubs will do everything to win their matches including acts that
threaten the peace, a resort to violence, a breach of the peace and unethical conduct.
 
At a Meeting of the Police Administration and the Executive Council of the GFA on 4th Novermber 2021, the IGP, Dr Akuffo Dampare asked the GFA to assist his administration by performing their duties efficiently. He encouraged them to do everything possible to protect the security and integrity of the sport of football. If the GFA goes ahead with plans to relegate 30 Division One Clubs, an ILLUSORY CORRELATION EFFECT would be created between the words of wisdom of the IGP and the security and integrity of the sport of football arising out of the unprecedented and unpopular plan of the GFA.
 
 
C. The unprecedented and unpopular plan to demote 30 Division One Clubs is a violent departure and radical CHANGE to the existing football architecture of Ghana. With the greatest respect, the conception, processes and implementation of the new competitions format described by the GFA as the pyramid of competitions in Ghana defies every principle and teaching of John KOTTER in the 8 well-known steps for change Management. The most pitiful aspect of it is that, due to inadequate engagement with owners of clubs and other stakeholders,
the concept was poorly communicated that some clubs learnt about the effect of the mass
demotion in the media. Division One Club owners do not have copies of the report of the Mark
Addo-Committee which was set up by the Executive Committee to make recommendations on
the proposal and concept. They are also not privy to recommendations of the Management Board
for Division One Clubs.
 
 
D. Under article 31 clause 3 the agenda together with papers to be considered at congress are supposed to be sent to Members of Congress at least 7 days before congress. On 18th October, 2021 the GFA Secretariat dispatched via email the agenda and documents for CONGRESS to GFA Members. Significantly, the activity report didn’t contain any historical or legal or operational report or information on the proposal for the mass demotion of 30 Division One League clubs. Members of Congress were not given any prior information of the “FOOTBALL PYRAMID” as required by the GFA Statutes, article 31 clause 3. What rather happened was that on 28th October 2021, on the floor of Congress, the General Secretary made a
power point presentation of the “Football Pyramid”. This presentation failed to meet the threshold of article 31 clause 3. A presentation to Congress outside the threshold of article 31 clause 3 is no presentation at all.
 
 
E. Every decision taken in football must seek to achieve a sporting objective in football and/or further the football interests of the football “people”. We fail to see clearly the mischief that this proposal of mass demotion seeks to cure. It would rather create unforeseeable problems to our football with irredeemable losses and permanent football injuries and scars.
 
 
F. The proposed football structure with 18 Premier Division Clubs and 18 Clubs for a National Division One League (described nebulously therein as a super league) cannot by any stretch of imagination be described as a pyramid. A pyramid with the top 2 competitions proposed to have 18 clubs each cannot be a pyramid. It’s neither a triangle, rectangle, hexagon nor other known mathematical diagrams. The English FA competition pyramid, which appears to be the source of inspiration to the GFA is modeled along different lines. With a wide disparity in finances, culture, work ethics, history and political systems of Ghana and England, we cannot follow everything English hook line and sinker.
 
 G The proposed relegation of 30 Division One Clubs at the end of the 2021/2022 Football
season offends article 9(1) of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the
Statutes on sporting integrity and principles of relegation and demotion
 
The FIFA Rule provides that:

“A club’s entitlement to take part in a domestic league championship shall depend principally on sporting merit. A club shall qualify for a domestic league championship by remaining in a certain division or by being promoted or relegated to another at the end of a season.”

No Club which participates in the 2021/2022 Regional Second Division League would be promoted to the Division One League or the new Super League to be created. What then is the motivation for participating in a league with no prospect for promotion to the next league?

There’s no sporting merit for participating in the Regional Second Division Leagues.
 

(III) ECONOMIC REASONS

Each Division One League Club employs at least 30 players many of whom are professional players. A relegation of 30 clubs would leave in its unplanned wake the sudden and unexpected downgrade in values of the affected clubs and all their players from grace to grass. Club owners
and investors who spent fortunes to build their clubs over years would suddenly have to contend with zero or a near to zero values for their clubs and players. The demotion will create a new class of second division players whose economic statuses from the sudden change from professional to amateur would create economic challenges for the Government, societies in which they live and their families.

Any prudent reform process resulting in drastic changes in the economic fortunes of clubs and players should have considered a compensation package to cushion affected clubs for such massive losses. To buttress this point it is imperative to take note that BYFC a Division One
League Club in Bekwai was recently sold for GHS200, 000 at the beginning of the 2021/22 football season. This same club if put up for sale next season in the event it suffers relegation into Division Two would be devalued to GHS10, 000 or less.

Therefore a pyramid that seeks to devalue club owners’ lifetime investments can appropriately be described as insensitive, capricious, callous, disrespectful, wicked and inhumane
 
(IV) SOCIAL REASONS

The demotion of 30 clubs will create at least 900 new second division players in clubs with its attendant social challenges. Out of frustration some clubs may become defunct and create social deviants, miscreants, and unemployed youth who will join the growing stock of unemployed
young people in the country.
 
(V) POLITICAL REASONS

In 1993 through the collaboration of Government and GFA, the Premier and Division One Leagues were created. The Division One League was created as a medium to bring high level football to the doorsteps of the people. Every nook and cranny of Ghana was provided the opportunity to own a Division One club through the current arrangement. Many towns and suburban settlements have one time or the other witnessed the proliferation of a division one club. Thus far, we have seen clubs such as Mpohor Iron Fighters, Ho Home Stars, Tumu Ambassadors, Prestea Mines Stars, Paga Crocodiles, Bimbilla National, Tarkwa GagRoos, Ayigya Eagles, Dormaa Kyenkyenkye, Koforidua Mighty Sailors, Bogosu National, just to
mention a few. This mass demotion drive would be a stab in the back of the Government policy to spread the development of football across every nook and cranny of the country. Football will become the exclusive preserve of a few urban towns, cities and municipalities. By the way, has
the GFA Executive Council sought the opinion of the Government on whether the Government policy on the promotion of mass sports and football clubs has changed?
 
(VI) Recommendation

Article 81(6) was formulated without a consideration of the hardship and irreparable and perpetual harm it would inflict on football. We therefore recommend HIGHLY the deletion of the entire article 81 from the statute books of the GFA. In fact, as a transitional provision the
entire article 81 ought to have been deleted at the first Meeting of the post-elective GFA Congress as the provisions became otiose after the elections.

3. To consider and delete article 39(k) of the GFA Statutes

AND

To consider and approve an amendment of article 27 by adding a new article 27(q) as follows:

To approve and issue regulations for the organization of all competitions of the GFA

The GFA has since independence of Ghana as a nation state applied the time honored principle of separation of powers by creating 3 organs to exercise the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the GFA. Article 39(k) surreptitiously took away the power of the GFA congress to
make Regulations for competitions of the GFA. This change in the status quo was made when there was no justification or basis for it. In fact, in law and social relationships management, you don’t fix it when it’s not broken. The Executive Council is now clothed with the power to make
Regulations when the power had been rightly and properly exercised by the Congress. It’s now unknown unless you make a request or enquiry to the Executive Council as to whether new Regulations for competitions have been made or not. At the moment, we have not been informed
whether or not new Regulations have been made for the Division One League.
 
Under article 25 clause 1 of the 2019 Statutes of the GFA, Congress “represents the supreme and legislative authority of GFA”. The existing arrangement where Executive Council exercises or shares legislative powers of the GFA with Congress as provided under article 39 (k) of the GFA
Statutes is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of article 25 clause 1 of the GFA Statutes. Since independence of Ghana, Congress has retained the legislative powers of the GFA until 2019 for no apparent reasons.

We are dissatisfied that as a national Association, we mistakenly followed the practices of CAF, UEFA and FIFA which are different in character, nature of their competitions Management and daily operational challenges. The current arrangement will develop a wide wedge between Congress and the Executive Council due to the conflict. The governance system that retains the legislative power of the GFA in Congress as previously practised by the GFA promotes a participation of Members in the legislative decision-making process, transparency and broad and wide acceptability of regulations and statutes of the GFA.

The current arrangement of preserving the making of regulations to the Executive Committee is exclusionary and dangerous to the democratic credentials of the GFA.
 
4. We hereby resolve that, commencement of the Division One League scheduled for 19th November 2021 be suspended by the Executive Council pending the final determination of all issues raised by Members of the GFA Congress through this RESOLUTION at a Meeting of an Extraordinary Congress of the GFA.
 
The decision to relegate 30 clubs at the end of the 2021/2022 season is the most unpopular decision of the GFA since 1958 when the GFA joined CAF and FIFA. It’s a make-or-break move that will define the character and future direction of the GFA.

The Division One Clubs, seething under the spell of an unpopular move cannot commence the league with the anger and disenchantment in them until the issues raised are resolved.

In the circumstances, we respectfully pray the EXECUTIVE COUNCIL to suspend the commencement of the league scheduled for 19th November 2021 pending the final determination of all issues raised in this Resolution.
 
5. (A) Article 37 (1) – composition of the Executive Council: 2 years into office, we have experienced the efficacy and effectiveness of the Executive Council in the discharge of its duties. The Council as presently constituted doesn’t represent the interests of all stakeholders in the football family especially the over 2,000 grassroots football clubs spread across the administrative regions of Ghana. Therefore, we propose that All ten (10) RFA Chairmen be elected onto the Executive Council to give a firm and sporting meaning to the administration of football in the country.
 
 
(B) Article 26 – Delegates of Womens’ Premier League clubs at GFA Congress:

At present only 8 out of the 16 premier division clubs attend Congress in their own right. To give effect to the affirmative action of women as well as gender parity and equality All Women Premier League clubs should have a delegate each at Congress
 
(C) Article 26 – RFA delegates to Congress:

The Regional Football Associations are the fulcrum for the effective and efficient organization of football in Ghana. Since 2019 there appears to be a subtle attempt to reduce their importance by allocating only 2 delegates to RFAs who manage over 2000 clubs, coaches’ referees and other
officials. To accord RFAs their role and statuses, we propose that their representatives at Congress be increased from 2 to 3.
 

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments