Some Black Stars players begged to have certain payments to referees released to ensure qualification to the FIFA World Cup in Russia, the former Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, has revealed.
At the time, the MP said he was “scandalised” by such demands.
These “unclassified payments” have come up before, with the Vice-Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee, Wilfred Kweku Osei Palmer suggesting that Ghana would have qualified for the World Cup if money was made available to pay referees.
Throwing more fuel into the fire that has engulfed Ghana football in the wake of the investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ expose on football, Nii Lante Vanderpuye shed a little more light on the perceived corruption.
“National team players came to my office to plead with me to end the sort of adventures I am having with the FA and give them the money to be able to pay the unclassified payments so that we will qualify for the World Cup,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
That was the extent of the former Minister’s revelations.
“I don’t want to injure the reputation of these players because they are playing in Europe,” he said.
Before this, Nii Lante Vanderpuye also alleged Ghana bought its way to three FIFA World Cups; from 2006 to 2014.
“I know how we qualified to the World Cup… [we beat teams] and we buy,” he retorted.
“Osei Palmer came out and said I was the cause of our failure to qualify for the World Cup because I didn’t give them the money to buy the matches and to pay to the referees.”
Nii Lantey Vanderpuye took over at the Sports Ministry in 2016, and friction with the Ghana Football Association defined his tenure.
The retired sports journalist sought an end to the alleged culture of exploitation and malfeasance within football.
After the Anas’ expose was made public, football fans have been left shocked at the confirmation of alleged rot within the sport.
Several high ranking members in the GFA, including its President Kwesi Nyantakyi, have been implicated in acts of corruption.
Observers view this as a vindication of Nii Lantey Vanderpuye’s fight against the GFA in the time he was a minister.
He has now called for the government to dissolve the entire hierarchy of the GFA as the only solution.
“The government must dissolve the GFA with immediate effect and face the consequences from FIFA… it is the only thing that will save Ghana Football. Nigeria did it, and today they are reaping the benefits. They incurred a six-month ban for it, but today they are in the World Cup,” Nii Lantey Vanderpuye said.