Asante Kotoko have lost their protest against Berekum Chelsea in respect of their First Capital Plus Premier League Week 9 match which was played at the Golden City Park on 25th February, 2015.
On March 2, 2015, the Petitioner(Asante Kotoko) protested against the Respondent (Chelsea) for failing to pay to West African Football Academy (WAFA) its share of monies received in respect of the transfer of Solomon Asante to TP Mazembe of Congo, being US $59,722.23 on February 1, 2014 following a Player Status Committee Ruling in 2013.
The Petitioner stated that by a letter dated January 14, 2015, the General Secretary of the GFA gave Berekum Chelsea an ultimatum of fourteen (14) days within which to pay WAFA failing which the Berekum club would be deemed to have acted in violation of the General Regulations of the Ghana Football Association.
According to the Petitioner, Berekum Chelsea were finally directed on January 14, 2015 by the General Secretary to pay in full its debt to WAFA within fourteen (14) days from the date of receipt of the letter but again failed to pay at the time of the match between the two team on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 which ended in a one–one draw game.
However In its Statement of Defence filed on March 5, 2015, the Respondent contended that the Protest against them was without merit and ought to be dismissed.
The Respondent argued that inasmuch as it acknowledges its indebtedness to WAFA, it believes that it had subsequent to the GFA’s ultimatum, reached an agreement with WAFA to extend the deadline for the payment of the debt, which agreement supersedes the Directive from the General Secretary of the GFA. The said agreement was attached to the instant Petition (same as that attached by Kotoko SC to their Protest).
The Respondent stated further that it communicated the Agreement to the General Secretary of the GFA on February 3, 2015.
The Respondent continued in its Statement of Defence as follows:
“The GFA did not communicate to us their rejection of the agreement implying that FA has consented. WAFA who are the direct beneficiaries of the money have also not complained to the GFA since that agreement was reached, their disinterest in the settlement”.
According to the Respondent, after the expiration of the Agreement, one would have thought that WAFA would have written to the GFA to remind it of the Respondent’s failure to pay. The Respondent indicated that it had initiated processes to pay the debt which were agreeable to WAFA and was therefore, surprised that the Petitioner which was not a beneficiary of the debt and had no locus sought to be credited with points.
The Respondent finally submitted that the Petitioner’s protest lacked merit and ought to be dismissed accordingly.
In a Reply filed on Monday, March 9, 2015, the Petitioner contended that the facts in the Statement of Defence and the evidence rather support its case against the Respondent, as the Respondent admitted its failure to pay the debt owed to WAFA before the deadline given by the General Secretary of the GFA.
FINDINGS AND GROUNDS OF THE DECISION
The Committee finds as follows:
1. that on November 8, 2013, the Respondent was directed by the Player Status Committee of the Ghana Football Association to pay WAFA (then Feyenoord Academy) an amount of US$59,722.23 being WAFA’s share of the contract sum for the transfer of player Solomon Asante to TB Mazembe on or before February 1, 2014.
2. that Berekum Chelsea failed to pay the said amount.
3. that the General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association wrote and gave Berekum Chelsea a fourteen-day ultimatum for the settlement of the said debt failing which it would suffer sanctions in accordance with Article 63(1)(c).
4. that the 14-day ultimatum expired on February 3, 2015.
5. that Berekum Chelsea has to date not settled its indebtedness to WAFA.
The first issue that engaged the attention of this Committee was the regulation under which Kumasi Asante Kotoko, the Petitioner had brought the instant protest before the Committee.
The Petitioner rather shockingly brought its Protest under Article 34(1)(L) of the General Regulations of the Ghana Football Association, which was repealed by the GFA Congress on December 30, 2014.
The First Amendment to the GFA General Regulations clearly acknowledged this as follows:
“Article 34(1) (L) of the General Regulations is amended by its deletion as follows:
ARTICLE 34 (1) (L) is hereby deleted
The Committee found this very disturbing but will reserve further comments on it. The Committee therefore, holds that the Protest brought before it by Kumasi Asante Kotoko is frivolous in respect of a repealed regulation and shall fail.
The Committee therefore, makes the following decisions:
IN RESPECT OF THE PROTEST OF KOTOKO AGAINST CHELSEA
a. That for invoking the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Committee under a nonexistent regulation the repealed Article 34(1)(L), the Protest of Kumasi Asante Kotoko SC shall not succeed and is hereby dismissed as being frivolous in accordance with Article 37(16) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
b. That for bringing a frivolous Protest before the Disciplinary Committee, Kumasi Asante Kotoko is hereby fined Three Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc3,000) to be paid to the GFA in accordance with Article 37(16) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
c. That the cost mentioned in Decision 2 and 3 above, shall be paid to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which Kumasi Asante Kotoko shall automatically forfeit all subsequent matches after the said deadline in accordance with Article 39(8)(b) of the GFA General Regulations (as amended).
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