The GFA Disciplinary Committee “A” has declared that Bolga Man City shall forfeit their Match day 30 game against Atebubu Esperance.
Bolga Man City FC was charged with one count of misconduct with regards to the GN Bank Division One League Week 30 match scheduled between Atebubu Esperance FC and Bolga Man City FC.
Bolga Man City FC was charged for failing to honour the Match Day 30 fixture of the GN Bank Division One League against the home club, Atebubu Esperance FC without any reason whatsoever in violation of Articles 7(1) and 7(2) of the Division One League Special Regulations and Article 14(3) of the GFA General Regulations.
Bolga Man City FC did not respond to the charge even though the Charge Sheet was sent to the club and also published on www.ghanafa.org stating that: You are required to submit your written Statement of Defence to the charge(s) on or before Friday, October 16, 2015 on or before 5pm at the GFA Secretariat or through email address to the Disciplinary Committee firstname.lastname@example.org, failing which the Disciplinary Committee shall proceed to adjudicate the case without your Statement of Defence.
PROCEEDINGS AND FINDINGS
It must be noted from the onset that Atebubu Esperance FC did not file any protest against Bolga Man City FC in respect of this match.
The Committee examined the depositions on the Charge Sheet from the GFA Prosecutor and the reports of the match officials of the said match and the evidence of the GFA Prosecutor.
The Committee has established as a fact that the Charge Sheet was sent to Bolga Man City FC and was also published on the official website of the Ghana Football Association (www.ghanafa.org), which has become one of the official modes of communication for the GFA since the GFA Congress gave the mode its approval on December 30, 2014. It is the view of the Committee that there is proof that Article 35(19) of the General Regulations has been complied with and therefore Bolga Man City FC has no excuse whatsoever for the club’s failure to respond to the charges and the invitation to the GFA Disciplinary Committee.
The Committee also holds that it will side with Article 85 of the Disciplinary Code on the facts stated in the match report and the evidence given by the prosecution.
It must be made clear that under Article 34(7) of the General Regulations, a club whose opponent fails to honour a match must protest if the club intends to benefit from the match points. The Article states as follows: “For the avoidance of doubt, a team shall forfeit a match under Article 34(1) in consequence of a protest duly filed within the time limited for filing of protests under these regulations.
Such a club has a burden to discharge in order to gain the points under Article 34(1) of the General Regulations. This is provided for under 34(13)(a) of the same Article as follows: “The burden of proof regarding protest between clubs rest on the protesting club and in the case of a charge by the Prosecutor, the burden rest with the Prosecution”.
The GFA cannot therefore go out of its way to award match points to a non-vigilant and disinterested club. A distinction must however be made in a situation of misconduct where the burden of proof is placed on the GFA Prosecutor such as in this case.
Under Article 34(9) of the GFA General Regulations, it is possible for two clubs in a fixture to be punished by a forfeiture of the match. In that situation, the match shall be considered as having been played but with neither side being credited with any point, no matter what the score shall be at the end of the match. It is the considered position of this Committee that it is equally possible for a club to be punishable by forfeiture with the disinterested or the indifferent club not to be awarded with any point from the match.
Again under Article 30 of the GFA Disciplinary Code, it is possible for a club to have points deducted from those already attained in the current league or a future completion.
It is quite clear that this matter has not come before this Committee under 34 of the General Regulations but rather through a misconduct charge under Articles 7(1) and 7(2) of the Division One League Special Regulations and Article 14(3) of the GFA General Regulations.
Articles 7(1) and 7(2) of the Division One League Special Regulations state as follows: 7.1 “All Clubs shall be required to honour all League Matches”.
7.2 “Any Club that fails to honour any match without just cause shall be guilty of an offence punishable by forfeiture. Force majeure shall be considered a just cause”.
Article 14(3) of the GFA General Regulations: “Without prejudice to any provision in these Regulations, the GFA reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary action, including expulsion, against any club which withdraws from a competition or fails to honour any match without just cause”.
The Committee therefore holds that Bolga Man City FC shall forfeit the match in accordance with Article 31 of the Disciplinary Code. Article 31 of the Disciplinary Code states as follows: “A team shall be sanctioned with forfeiture and as such deemed to have lost the match 3-0”.
The Committee is also mindful of the negative effects that a failure to honour a match can have on a sponsored league and football as a whole. The Committee is therefore inclined to apply Article 30 of the Disciplinary Code as well as a fine to deter clubs from such a behaviour in future.
The Committee therefore makes the following decisions:
1. That for failing to honour the match, Bolga Man City FC shall forfeit the Match Day 30 GN Bank Division One League match in accordance with Article 31 of the GFA Disciplinary Code with reference to Articles 7(2) of the Division One Special Regulations and Article 14(3) of the GFA General Regulations.
2. That having been found to have forfeited the match, Bolga Man City FC shall be considered as having played the match and lost by a 3-0 margin in accordance with Article 31 of the GFA Disciplinary Code.
3. That in addition Bolga Man City FC shall also lose three (3) points from the club’s accumulated points from previous matches in accordance with Article 30 of the Disciplinary Code of the GFA.
4. That Bolga Man City FC is hereby further fined One Thousand Hundred Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,000.00) payable to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which Bolga Man City FC shall automatically forfeit all subsequent matches after the said deadline by the Division One League Board or the GFA in accordance with Articles 39(8)(b), 39(8)(d) and 39(8)(f) of the First Amendment to the GFA General Regulations.
5. That Atebubu Esperance for failing to protest shall be deemed to have played the match but shall not be awarded any points in this match in pursuant to Article 34(7) of the GFA General Regulations.
6. That should any party be dissatisfied with or aggrieved by this Decision, the party has within three (3) days of being notified of this Ruling to appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association (See Article 37(11) of the General Regulations of the GFA).