Prime News Ghana

Ghanaian clubs want 18-team league maintained beyond this season

By Vincent Ashitey
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Ghana Premier League clubs and Division One League clubs in the country have written a petition to the Ghana Football Association to maintain the new 18-team league structure which was agreed at Congress in October.

It will be recalled that during the last Elective Congress, it was unanimously agreed that the 2019/2020 season should be expanded from 16 to 18 teams to among other reasons reinstate Accra Great Olympics and King Faisal into the elite division so that both of them can drop their legal battle with the GFA.

64 members voted in favour of the proposal which means both Olympics and King Faisal will play in the 2019/2020 league.

Per the agreement, 5 teams instead of 3 will be relegated before the league returns to its default format of 16 teams.

But in the partition sighted by Finder Sports, both the Ghana Premier League teams and the Division One League clubs e teams want only three to be relegated, meaning the Premier League will maintain the 18 teams without reverting to a 16-team league after this season.

Congress is expected to deliberate on this petition/proposal at this week’s Congress on Thursday December 19.

The proposal will need 75% of Congress composition to be accepted and approved.

So how did we get here? It will be recalled that the Great Olympics held up the start of the 2017/ 2018 Ghana Premier League season after a case they presented against Bechem United for fielding an unqualified player was thrown out by the FA.

So, they wanted a points-deduction to be handed to Bechem as stated in the FA’s statutes. The deduction would have saved Olympics from the drop. The FA, at the time, said the case had been filed outside the stipulated 3-day window prescribed in the statutes.

Subsequently, the team took the issue to the law courts where it lost the case ultimately.

Olympics’ issue with the GFA was that Bechem United’s Joseph Amoah was not qualified to play against them on the final day of the 2016/ 2017 season in a match they lost to send them down to Division One.

However, Amoah’s status as an unqualified player was down to an administrative error on the part of referee Reginald Lathbridge.

Earlier in the season, Lathbridge handled a match between Elmina Sharks and Bechem United and mistakenly wrote in his match report that it was Amoah he had booked. Subsequent yellow cards meant that Amoah should not have played against Olympics on the last day of the season.

The error led Olympics to go on the legal route and almost halted the start of the 2017/ 2018 league season. While they were not successful, the Ghana FA banned Lathbridge for life for his error that almost threw the league season out of gear.

Lathbridge tried changing the match records 7 months later and that drew the anger of the FA.

What about King Faisal? King Faisal FC suffered relegation in 2014 but they also went to court to get some issues resolved. Their case was that Aduana Stars FC had failed to pay a fine and thus, needed to be punished.

King Faisal took the issue to the GFA’s Disciplinary and Appeals Committee where it lost and thus, went to the law court to have the FA punish Aduana Stars by deducting points; a situation which would have saved Faisal from relegation.

Source: Finder Sports