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GFA dismisses Hearts of Oak protest against Accra Great Olympics

The GFA Disciplinary Committee has dismissed Accra Hearts of Oak’s protest against Great Olympics in relation to their Ghana Premier League Matchday 28 match.

IN THE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE
GHANA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Protest Case: No. P 11–2021
CORAM
1. Osei Kwadwo Adow, Esq. – Chairman
2. Lorraine Ababio-Crabbe, Esq. – Member
3. Emmanuel Nikoi – Member
4. Nathaniel Laryea – Member
5. Elsie Nana Acheampong – Member
William Bossman – Secretary
ACCRA HEARTS OF OAK SC vrs ACCRA GREAT OLYMPICS FC
PROTEST IN RESPECT OF THEIR GHANA PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHDAY 28
MATCH PLAYED AT ACCRA SPORTS STADIUM
PROCEEDINGS
In accordance with Article 56 of the GFA Statutes (2019) and Articles 35.9 of the GFA
Premier League Regulations, this Disciplinary Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the
Committee”) considered the depositions from Accra Hearts of Oak SC (hereinafter
referred to as “the Petitioner”) and the Statement of Defence from Accra Great Olympics
FC (hereinafter referred to as “the Respondent”) with their supporting attachments, the
reports of the match officials and the video of the match.
SUMMARY OF FACTS
CASE OF ACCRA HEARTS OF OAK SC
Accra Hearts of Oak SC (the Petitioner) protested against Accra Great Olympics
(the Respondent) for fielding an unqualified player in the person of Joshua Kwame
Rhule in their Ghana Premier League Matchday 28 match contrary to Articles
28(1)(d), 28(2)(a), 26(6) of the Ghana Premier League Regulations.
The Petitioner stated that Accra Great Olympics FC fielded an unqualified player
in the person of Joshua Kwame Rhule (in Jersey #39) in the Week 28 fixture
between the two sides contrary to Article 28(1)(d) of the GFA Premier League
Regulations which states that:

“An unqualified player is a player who has registered for more than one club or
with any club registered with another National Association”.

The Petitioner also stated that the Respondent breached Article 28(2)(a) of the
GFA Premier League Regulations which states that:
“An unqualified player shall not take part in any match for which he is unqualified
to play”.

The Petitioner further claimed that the Respondent failed to perform its due
diligence in registering Joshua Kwame Rhule contravening Article 26(6) of the
Ghana Premier League Regulations which states that:
“Responsibility for the truthfulness of information on players’ licenses lies on the
clubs and not on the GFA”.

The Petitioner elaborated on the Respondent’s failure to perform due diligence in registering Joshua Kwame Rhule contravening Article 26(6).

According to the
Petitioner, Joshua Kwame Rhule registered for AS Dragon FC de I’Oueme of
Benin in the 2019/20 season with the name Koomson Biney.
The Petitioner stated further that the player came to Ghana and registered for
Accra Great Olympics FC as Joshua Kwame Rhule and featured for Accra Great
Olympics FC in the match between the two clubs.
The Petitioner then quoted Article 27(c) which stipulates that:
“At any time during the season, a player suspected to have been registered illegally
or fraudulently shall be reported to the GFA Prosecutor.

Also, a complaint about
any player concerning a change in identity or data may be challenged at any time
by any club by sending the complaint and evidence to the GFA Prosecutor for
investigation and prosecution before the GFA Disciplinary Committee.”

The Petitioner attached evidence of the player when he was playing for Dragon
FC as well as the Club’s list of Registered players for the 2019/20 season. The
Petitioner also cited Article 28(2)(b) which states that;
“Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision of this Article, the
GFA shall in all cases, locate and punish the guilty party/parties. In the event of
the player being the sole guilty party, the results of the match which he played shall
stand”.
The Petitioner then pleads that Accra Great Olympics FC failed to perform due
diligence and are accomplices in the said case.

The Petitioner prayed the Committee to award Accra Hearts of Oak SC with 3
points and 3 goals in the Matchday 28 fixture between the two sides.

According to
the Petitioner, the player should be suspended in accordance with Article 28(2)(c)
of the Ghana Premier League Regulations.

DEFENCE OF ACCRA GREAT OLYMPICS FC
In its Statement of Defence, the Respondent contended that the protest filed by
the Petitioner lacks merit, is frivolous, malicious and should be dismissed with
punitive cost.

The Respondent stated that the Petitioner failed to cite the regulation under which
the Respondent ought to be sanctioned even if they have breached the GFA
Premier League Regulations.

The Respondent further stated that the Petitioner failed to establish a breach of
Articles 26(6) and Article 28(1)(d) and Article 28(2)(a) of the Ghana Premier
League Regulations which are relevant for the determination of the truthfulness
and eligibility of players in the registration process.
It is the case of the Respondent that the claim by the Petitioner that Accra Great
Olympics FC failed to do due diligence cannot be supported considering the
circumstances and facts of the player’s registration.
The Respondent explained that the GFA has put in place an electronic registration
system where a club wishing to register a player must search for the player’s name
from the system. The Petitioner continued that after the search, the name and
picture of the player pops up to confirm that he is duly registered in the system for
the club from whom the transfer request is being sought.
The Respondent added further explanation of the player registration process in
accordance with Article 26(1)(b) of the Premier League Regulations.

The Respondent further stated that after the submission of the registration
documents and processes, the GFA’s IT Department vets the document before
approval is given for issuance of the player’s license to the new club. The
Respondent stated emphatically that they went through the above-mentioned
process to have the player Joshua Kwame Rhule transferred by Koforidua
Suhyen SC to Accra Great Olympics FC.
On the issue of concealment of material information, the Respondent stated that,
the Petitioner failed to prove that the Respondent ought to have known that the
player used a different name with which he played for a club in Benin. Respondent
argues that their enquiries shows that the player is a player of Koforidua Suhyen,
a 2nd Division Club in the Eastern Region.

Respondent again stated that Accra Great Olympics FC is unaware of any
registration of the player with any other club in Ghana or abroad in a name different
from the name that the player was transferred to Accra Great Olympics FC.

According to the Respondent, they have never encountered the name Koomson
Biney in the system neither has anyone informed Accra Great Olympics FC of a
change of name prior to the player’s registration with Koforidua Suhyen SC and his subsequent registration with Accra Great Olympics FC.

The Respondent concluded by saying that the Petitioner failed to prove fraud in
the player’s registration of the player by Accra Great Olympics FC neither did the
Petitioner prove that the Respondent breached any article of the Regulations for
which Accra Hearts of Oak SC should be awarded with three points.

The Respondent attached the transfer agreement between Koforidua Suhyen SC
and Accra Great Olympics FC duly signed by authorized officials as well as the
contract between the player and the club.

FINDINGS AND GROUNDS OF THE DECISION
The Committee finds from the Records in the FIFA Connect Registration System
as follows:

a. That Koomson Biney whose date of birth is 15th May 1998, registered
with Teshie Zinap FC from 1st August 2010 to 5th September 2016.

b. That Koomson Biney was transferred to Santos FC of South Africa and
from the GFA’s records and the ITC, has since not returned to Ghana.

c. That Joshua Kwame Rhule whose date of birth is 15th December 2002
registered with Koforidua Suhyen SC on 31st October 2020.

d. That Joshua Kwame Rhule was transferred to Accra Great Olympics on
1st April 2021.

e. That per the records and pictures, Koomson Biney and Joshua Kwame
Rhule is the same person (player) with two registration identities in the
system.

f. That player Joshua Kwame Rhule was transferred to Accra Great
Olympics FC by Koforidua Suhyen SC on 1st April, 2021 where he was
registered with the same details from Koforidua Suhyen FC.

g. That Koforidua Suhyen SC and the player must be charged for the
misconduct.

h. That Great Olympics FC did not alter or change any details of the player
as was given to them by Koforidua Suhyen SC.

Whereas Accra Hearts of Oak SC argued that it was Accra Great Olympics FC who
registered the player with the new details and must be punished, point ‘f’ above shows
that Koforidua Suhyen FC registered the player with the new details.

The Committee is clear that the relevant provision for the settlement of this case is Article
28(2)(a) of the GFA Premier League Regulations, which Accra Hearts of Oak SC quoted:

“Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision of this Article, the
GFA shall in all cases, locate and punish the guilty party/parties. In the event of
the player being the sole guilty party, the results of the match which he played shall
stand”.

It is clear from the foregoing that only the guilty party must be punished, and Accra Great
Olympics FC is not one of the potential guilty parties per the evidence adduced before
this Committee in this case.

DECISION
Having made the above findings from the IT Department and the Registration
Systems of the GFA, the Disciplinary Committee decides as follows:
1. That the instant protest is dismissed.

2. That in accordance with Article 28(2)(b) of the GFA Premier League
Regulations, Accra Great Olympics FC is not the guilty party in this instant
case and the results of the Ghana Premier League match between Great
Olympics FC and Accra Hearts of Oak SC shall stand.

3. That the Player Koomson Biney and/or Joshua Kwame Rhule and Koforidua
Suhyen SC should be charged by the GFA Prosecutor.

4. That until the determination of the misconduct cases, the registration of
Koomson Biney and/or Joshua Kwame Rhule are suspended with
immediate effect.

5. That should any party be dissatisfied with or aggrieved by this Decision,
the party has within one (1) day of being notified of this Ruling to appeal to
the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association.

Osei Kwadwo Adow, Esq.
Chairman, Disciplinary Committee
Friday, July 2

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