The GFA Disciplinary Committee has fined Hearts of Oak in respect of their First Capital Plus Premier League match against Asante Kotoko at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Feb 7, 2015.
Accra Hearts of Oak was charged with two (2) counts as per the Charge Sheet dated Thursday, February 12, 2015.
On the first count, the club was charged for its alleged breach of Articles 17(1)(c), 17(1)(d), 17(2) and 17(5) of the GFA General Regulations for its failure to promptly change and use an alternative strip as directed by the match officials pursuant to the GFA Regulations.
On the second count, the club was charged for its alleged breach of Articles 17(3), 23(1) of the GFA General Regulations for delaying the scheduled kick-off of the match due to its reluctance to change its goalkeeper’s strip, the colour of which clashed with that of the home team’s strip as directed by the match officials pursuant to the GFA Regulations.
In its Statement of Defence, the Club pleaded not guilty to the two charges and requested a personal hearing to defend the charges against the club. But at the hearing, Accra Hearts of Oak changed its plea to guilty with explanation on both counts and also pleaded for leniency.
On count one, Accra Hearts of Oak explained that even though the club did not have the alternative goalkeeper’s strip readily available at the pre-match technical meeting, the could be resolved if the referee for the match had considered the club’s suggestion to allow use of the warm-up vest in combination with the goalkeeper’s strip to avert the clash of strips.
The Committee found for a fact that Hearts of Oak did not have an alternative strip for their goalkeeper, a reason they resorted to the use of a goalkeeper’s strip which did not conform with the provisions in Law 4 of the Laws of the Game as there was no number at the back same. The Committee therefore, held the view that the club had acted in breach of Article 17(1)(d) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
On the second count, Accra Hearts of Oak explained that the delay in the kick-off of the match would have been averted, if the referee had allowed the club to combine the warm-up vest with the alternative strip of the goalkeeper.
The club further stated in support of its position that when the referee eventually allowed the official goalkeeper’s strip to be used for the match, it did not result in any confusion.
The Committee held the view that the actions and inactions of Hearts of Oak partly contributed to the delayed kick-off of the match and also put the GFA in danger of violating its contractual obligations towards its television partner.
In the circumstances, the Committee satisfied that Hearts of Oak had breached Articles 23(1)(a) and 35(7)(d) of the General Regulations of the GFA but did not breach Article 17(3) of the General Regulations of the GFA. The Committee however, took judicial notice of the plea for leniency by Accra Hearts of Oak.
The Committee makes the following decisions:
1. That for failing to ensure that the club’s goalkeeper changed into the club’s alternative goalkeeper’s strip in contravention of Article 17(1)(d) of the General Regulations of the GFA, Accra Hearts of Oak is hereby fined an amount of Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHc500.00) in accordance with Article 17(2) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
2. That for delaying the match day countdown and the kick-off of the match in breach of Article 23(1)(a) of the General Regulations of the GFA, Accra Hearts of Oak is hereby further fined an amount of One Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Ghana Cedis (GHc1,250.00) in accordance with Article 23(1)(b) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
3. That for putting the GFA in danger of breaching its contractual obligations towards its television partners in contravention of Article 35(7)(d), Hearts of Oak is hereby further fined an amount of Three Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc3,000) in accordance with Article 39(1)(b) of the General Regulations of the GFA.
4. That all the fines (in Decisions 1 to 3 above), shall be paid by Accra Hearts of Oak to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which the club shall automatically forfeit all subsequent matches after the said deadline.
5. That should Accra Hearts of Oak be dissatisfied with or aggrieved by this Decision the club has within three (3) days of being notified of this Ruling to appeal to the Appeals Committee. (See Article 37(11) of the General Regulations of the GFA).