Mr. A Adjei Baffour from Sunyani was charged w;ith misconduct a breach of 35(7)(d) of the GFA General Regulations in respect of GN Bank Division One League match between KFC Samosa and Elmina Sharks played at the Wesley Park on March 15, 2015.
In the said match the match Commissioner was alleged to have allowed the supporters of KFC to stay in the inner perimeter contrary to the GFA Regulations.
Even though the Charge Sheet was sent to Adjei Baffour and was also published on the official GFA website and other media platforms, same as his invitation to appear before the Disciplinary Committee, Adjei Baffour did not send a Statement of Defence to defend the charge nor appear before the Committee to defend the charge. The Charge sheet clearly stated that the Committee will go ahead to adjudicate the matter if the recipient fail or refuse to respond to the charge.
PROCEEDINGS AND FINDINGS
The Committee examined the depositions in the Charge Sheet and the reports of the match officials of the said match.
The Committee took serious exception to the failure of the Match Commissioner, an official of the GFA, to respond to the charges or the invitation to appear before the Committee and to show due respect to the work of the Disciplinary Committee. The Committee has established as a fact that the Charge Sheet was sent to Adjei Baffour through the Brong Ahafo Regional Football Association and was more importantly for our purposes also published on the official website of the Ghana Football Association (www.ghanafa.org) which has become one of the official mode of communication for the GFA since the GFA Congress gave the mode its approval on December 30, 2014.
Without stretching the arguments of the issue of service, the Committee is of the view that once there is a proof that Article 37(19) of the General Regulations was complied with, the Match Commissioner will have no excuse whatsoever for his failure to respond to the GFA Disciplinary Committee.
Article 37(19) ‘All official correspondence including but not limited to daily and weekly information updates, fines, debts, costs, notices, invitations, decisions, communiquÃ©s and any other information of the Association, its bodies, its Organs, its committees or the Secretariat shall be deemed to have been duly served on a club, its officers, players, supporters, agents, representatives or whoever described, if the service of the said correspondence is communicated to the Club or the Club Secretary or the Club owner, or the Club Representatives submitted to the GFA through its fax, e-mail address, postal address, or delivery of a hard copy thereof or is made or published through the GFA newspaper or newsletter or other national newspapers, the GFA website or announced through any radio station or television station or posted on the GFA notice board’.
It is also very clear from the provisions of Article 19(7) of the GFA General Regulations that a failure of a Match commissioner to attend the Disciplinary Committee’s hearing is frowned upon by the Association. The said Article provides as follows:
Article 19(7) ‘Referees and Match Commissioners shall attend disciplinary hearings when called upon to do so. Disciplinary action shall be taken against those who fail to attend hearings without just cause’.
The Committee shall therefore sanction Adjei Baffour appropriately in this respect.
On the charge itself, Articles 35(7)(a) and 35(7)(d) of the General Regulations are relevant. The two regulations provides as follow:
Article 35(7) In addition to matters referred to in any other rule, it shall be misconduct if a club, Director, official, Referee, Assistant Referee, or Player or member is proved to have done or permitted or assisted any of the following to be done:
(a) Violation of the Laws of the Game or rules and regulations of the Association or any other Association affiliated to FIFA.
(d) Commit any offensive act not provided for in above or made any offensive statement either verbally or in writing or is responsible for any conduct or any matter which is in the opinion of the Association ungentlemanly, insulting or improper behaviour or likely to bring the game into disrepute.
The Committee was left with no option but to believe the report of the match referee. According to the match referee when he noticed during recess that some of the supporters of the home team were in the inner perimeter and wanted them out before the commencement of the second half of the match, the match commissioner, Adjei Baffour requested that the referee should continue with the match and that he would educate the supporters.
The same supporters stayed on and later became the very supporters who attacked the match officials. The Committee holds that Adjei Baffour who was tasked by the GFA to uphold the rules of the game was rather the catalyst whose action or inactions aided in the melee that ensued after the match, thus bringing the game into disrepute.
In the circumstances, the Committee was satisfied that Adjei Baffour had breached Articles 35(7)(a) and 35(7)(d) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
The Disciplinary Committee having satisfied itself that the evidence adduced before it supports the charge of misconduct against Adjei Baffour, hereby ban him from taking part or engaging in any football-related activity whatsoever described in Ghana and also for any other football association for a period of one (1) year commencing on April 29, 2015 and ending on April 28, 2016.
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