The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, appears to have courted controversy for saying that former Ghana Football Association (GFA) President Kwesi Nyantakyi, was good for Ghana football despite being implicated in a bribery scandal that ended his reign.
“When we were able to bring down Kwesi Nyantakyi, we also brought down Ghana football. That is one of the brightest spots at FIFA”, Mr. Bagbin said in a meeting with Parliament’s press corps on Monday, April 4, 2022.
Mr. Bagbin further said some persons within FIFA were surprised at Kwesi Nyantakyi’s fall from grace.
Kwesi Nyantakyi had served as a FIFA Council member and vice-president of the Confederation of African Football.
There were those who believed that Mr. Nyantakyi could have headed CAF at some point in his career.
“When I met the executives of FIFA.. they said, what happened? Why did you people do that?” That he [Nyantakyi] was a dynamic addition. The value that he carried at their meetings…he was highly respected and very influential, and Ghana football was up there.”
According to the Speaker, Kwesi Nyantakyi was viewed as a dynamic personality with a huge influence on world football.
“We thought we were only handling Nyantakyi. We didn’t know we were handling the whole of Ghana,” Mr. Bagbin lamented.
He further suggested that journalists should be more measured when holding authority to account.
“Criticize us. Correct your children, but don’t break their hands or their legs. It will affect you. And that is where we are now, and people are calling on the government to forgive Nyantakyi and bring him back to assist.”
The Speaker made reference to how Senegal is rising in football partly due to the presence of one of their own at the highest level of football, a woman who serves as the Secretary-General of FIFA, suggesting that Nyantakyi was in a good position to rise to the highest level of football management.
In June 2018, Kwesi Nyantakyi was filmed taking $65,000 in cash in an undercover report by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas for BBC Africa’s investigations unit, Africa Eye.
Kwesi Nyantakyi was pictured placing money into a black plastic bag from an undercover reporter who was pretending to be a businessman exploring investment opportunities in Ghanaian football.
He was first given a life ban by FIFA after the documentary, which Kwesi Nyantakyi fought against.
But despite having previously denied any wrongdoing, he confessed to breaching conflict of interest rules.
He made these admissions when an appeal was heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
Following his appeal, Cas reduced Nyantakyi’s lifetime FIFA ban from football to 15 years, while also lowering his fine of $500,000 to $100,000.