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Ghana football chief resigns after corruption suspension

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Kwesi Nyantakyi accused “scammers” of tricking him after stepping down as Ghanaian Football Association president © AFP/File / Carl DE SOUZA

ACCRA, Ghana, Jun 8 – Ghanian Football Association (GFA) president Kwesi Nyantakyi resigned on Friday just hours after world football governing body FIFA hit him with a 90-day suspension over corruption claims.

In a statement carried on the GFA website, Nyantakyi apologised “unreservedly” for “a series of errors of indiscretion” after FIFA launched an ethics investigation into his activities.

Nyantakyi was accused in an explosive documentary called ‘Number 12’, aired on Wednesday by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, of soliciting bribes amounting to several million dollars.

The football chief said “scammers” had “deceived me into thinking they were genuine persons interested in investing in our country”.

In the documentary he was accused of requesting $11 million (9.3 million euros) from reporters posing as investors to secure government contracts.

He also allegedly tried to profit personally from a $5 million-a-year, five-year sponsorship deal with the GFA.

Hidden camera footage also purportedly showed referees taking as little as $100 each to rig matches.

Ghana’s government on Thursday said the documentary had exposed “gross malfunctioning… characterised by widespread fraud, corruption and bribery” at the GFA.

Ghana’s information minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said the government would dissolve the GFA because of the “widespread nature of the apparent rot”.

FIFA responded earlier on Friday by banning Nyantakyi from “all football-related activity” for 90 days pending an investigation with a possible further suspension of up to 45 days.

Football is Ghana’s national sport and the revelations have sent shockwaves through the country, just under a week before the start of the World Cup finals in Russia, for which they failed to qualify.

Before the last World Cup in Brazil in 2014, Nyantakyi was accused of signing a $170,000-deal for Ghana to play in a friendly organised by match fixers. He denied the accusations.

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