In a controversy reminiscent of American baseball’s Black Sox Scandal, an investigation raises accusations that the Ghana Football Association has engaged in an international conspiracy to fix games in cooperation with a ring of corrupted game officials.
A six-month-long undercover investigation by the British newspaper The Telegraph in conjunction with the British television’s Channel 4’s “Dispatches” program found that the president of Ghana’s football association engaged in a conspiracy to fix international matches in which his team played.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA),” The Telegraph reported on Sunday, “has called for police to investigate two men over the allegations.”
On the TV program it was revealed that Christopher Forsythe, a registered FIFA agent, along with Obed Nketiah, a senior figure in the Ghanaian FA, approached Kwesi Nyantakyi, president of the GFA, seeking a new contract to allow them to buy the rights to matches for Black Stars, the company they claimed to represent.
A clause in the contract gave Black Stars the right to appoint referees for games. The pair was also filmed saying they would bribe officials to ensure their contract got signed.
“You [the company] will always have to come to us and say how you want it to go…the result,” Forsythe is heard saying. “That’s why we will get the officials that we have greased their palms, so they will do it. If we bring in our own officials to do the match…. You’re making your money.”
Forsythe went on to claim that match fixing was “everywhere” in international soccer and hinted that referees are paid off throughout the world. “The referees can change the matches every time. Even in England it does happen,” he said.
The GFA rushed out a statement asking police to step in and investigate the allegations and pledged that, “We wish to assure the public that we will not tolerate such misrepresentations and we will seek strong sanctions against such individuals if such claims are found to be true.”
The Ghana footballers also pointed out they never did sign the corrupted contracts because they were waiting for their own legal team to review them.
This isn’t the first time an international cheating scandal has hit soccer. Last year a 19-month investigation alleged that 680 soccer matches had been rigged by officials.
All this brings to mind the famed “Black Sox Scandal” in which the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series. Even though the eight players caught up in the scandal were acquitted, they were all banned from baseball for life.
But if all the claims in this new scandal are proven true, this would far out strip the American baseball scandal and would rock international soccer.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org