Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Corruption alleged, corruption denied.

As the GPL nears the finishing line, the employment of corruption to win (or lose) is worrying all those involved. Because it is something that has been happening for a long time.

The latest to be embroiled in the bribery rumour mill are Berekum Arsenals. They drew 1-1 with Hearts on Sunday and the whispers permeating all corners is that the game had been fixed.

Don’t forget that Hearts needed to avoid a draw at all costs and for some, Berekum Arsenals should have won that game considering how the Phobians played. And also that Arsenals played at their Golden City Park home which has been impregnable for the better part of five years.

Yet the Arsenals have thrown out these potentially-damaging suggestions being aimed at them. Some theorists have even ventured as far as saying that before the match, the Gunners had been paid 40,000 Ghana cedis by Hearts. That’s in the region of $30k.

The 1-1 result sent the Phobians above their rivals Kotoko and hold a slim one-point lead at the top. Arsenals team manager J.A Awudu told Joy FM:

"All these are allegations! Kotoko lost four matches in Kumasi: were they fixed? Hearts of Oak lost in Accra, were they fixed? Why should people have that perception?

"It's football and the whole of the 16 teams are in competition and everybody spends money on his club and nobody will sit down to say ‘I will spend money and try to go back to relegation or first division.’

"It is very difficult. They are all allegations and illusions that people rally around - they are perceptions."

In Ghana, the last five-ten games in the season is a time to make money. For those clubs comfortably out of the relegation zone at this time, they can afford to ‘sell’ their games for badly needed revenue to keep them afloat in the coming seasons.

And since relegation to the Division One is almost suicidal, lower-placed teams also do all they can – including exchanging envelopes – to avoid the drop.