The Referees Association of Ghana (RAG) is demanding the settlement of about GHÂ¢500,000 in outstanding payment owed to it by the Ghana Football Association (GFA), failure of which would compel them not to participate in the upcoming competition to be organised by the Normalisation Committee of the GFA.
This latest posture by the referees body could throw the upcoming competition out of gear as the Normalisation Committee has set February 26 to April 21 as the duration of the competition, with winners expected to represent the country in the continental club competitions.
Even in the face of the turbulence that hit the referees body, which compelled it to hand out various degrees of suspension to over 50 of the countryâ€™s best referees in the aftermath of the Number 12 expose last June, RAG is flexing its muscle and appears bent on withdrawing their services.
According to RAG, it cannot be part of the new arrangement for a competition when the Dr Kofi Amoah-led committee had turned a blind eye to the debt owed them by the FA.
The National Treasurer of RAG, Thomas Nunoo, said in an interview on Friday that until the body was paid, the Normalisation Committee should not factor them into their plans for this novelty competition.
â€œWe have money matters with the FA to resolve. If they are going to play any competition, what I can say as the treasurer of the association is that they must pay the old debt before we go into any competition,â€ he said.
â€œIf you are not talking to us about the old debt, how do you say new competition and we (RAG) just walk into the competition like that?â€ he asked.
With just barely three weeks to the start of the novelty competition, Mr Nunoo disclosed that he had not seen any official communication from the Normalisation Committee requesting for their services, neither has he been privy to the competition format, the list of participating referees and the rules governing the competition.
â€œThe Normalisation Committee must know that they have to appoint a referees committee. Which adjudicating body is going to look at the regulations that they are going to put in place to run the competition?â€ the bemused referee asked.
He advised that the first thing the Normalisation Committee needed to do was to institute the various sub-committees of the FA before thinking about any competition.
â€œFor instance, if there is a disciplinary issue or there is the need to attend a pre-match meeting, which adjudicating body is going to look at it and sanction?â€ he enquired.
Mr Nunoo also demanded that the previous rates paid them by the defunct FA for officiating be reviewed upwards before they would extend their services to the FAâ€™s caretaker boy because they [referees] could not continue to work with a rate that had been in existence for well over three years.
However, the spokesperson of the Normalisation Committee, Dan Kwaku Yeboah, has explained that the FA had met with the referees body to deliberate on the future of the game as well as take steps to deal with some unresolved issues, including the outstanding debts owed it.
He told the Graphic Sports that when the two sides met in November last year, the outstanding debt was dealt with, following which the Normalisation committee issued RAG with a cheque of GHÂ¢523,000 to cover part of the FAâ€™s indebtedness but could not confirm whether or not there was still some arrears to be cleared.
â€œWhen the Normalisation Committee met the Referees Association of Ghana, I understand that the issue about the debts was discussed. The referees said they had been given a cheque which could not clear at the bank at a time the FAâ€™s accounts had been frozen. As a result, a new cheque for GHÂ¢523,000 was given to the referees but I cannot tell how must remains outstanding,â€ Mr Yeboah said.