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FIFA lifts threat to suspend scandal-hit Ghana soccer body

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has lifted a threat to suspend the Ghana Football Association after the government decided not to shut down the scandal-hit national soccer body.

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Instead, FIFA says it will work with the government and African soccer authorities to set up an interim panel overseeing fresh GFA elections by the end of March.

The accord means Ghana can play 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying games, including against Kenya on Sept. 7.

Ghana’s government tried to dissolve the soccer federation after officials were implicated in bribery and corruption by an undercover reporter.

FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi resigned, and is being investigated by FIFA’s ethics committee for allegedly accepting a $65,000 cash gift.

Members of the interim management panel must first pass a FIFA integrity check.

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FIFA gives Nigeria and Ghana final deadlines to avoid bans

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has given Nigeria and Ghana final deadlines to avoid international suspensions because of outside interference in their soccer associations.

FIFA said Tuesday that the Nigerian soccer federation headquarters must be handed back to the elected leadership by Monday or the country will be suspended from international competition.

[READ: Could Eriksen leave Tottenham?]

A group claiming to be in charge of Nigerian soccer took over the building last month while NFF president Amaju Pinnick was in Russia for the World Cup. The group claims a Nigerian court order gives them control of the federation.

The NFF said that the group had been removed after the World Cup but Pinnick still does not have control over the offices, according to FIFA.

A suspension means Nigerian national teams won’t be allowed to take part in any international competitions, although FIFA said the Nigerian women’s under-20 team currently competing at the World Cup in France would be able to continue in that tournament “on an exceptional basis” because it has already started.

But, if banned, Nigeria’s senior men’s team wouldn’t be able to participate in qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, which continues next month.

Ghana has been given until Aug. 27 to reverse a court order dissolving its soccer association. The government ordered the GFA to be dissolved after allegations of widespread corruption in Ghanaian soccer were made in an undercover documentary. FIFA doesn’t allow governments to interfere in the running of soccer bodies.

The undercover documentary captured GFA president and FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi allegedly accepting a cash gift of $65,000 from undercover journalists.

Ghanaian soccer has been thrown into crisis because of the allegations.

Nyantakyi, who was also a vice president of the African confederation, resigned from his soccer roles. He has been provisionally suspended by FIFA and is under investigation by the soccer body’s ethics committee. Cash gifts are prohibited by FIFA.

Ghana is also in danger of being excluded when African Cup of Nations qualifying returns next month.

Ghana, which is in first place in its qualifying group, is due to play Kenya on Sept. 7. Nigeria is scheduled to play Seychelles on the same day.

FIFA Council member from Ghana banned during investigation

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ZURICH FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi is banned from soccer while under investigation for taking cash gifts in a Ghanaian media undercover sting.

FIFA says its ethics committee provisionally suspended Nyantakyi for 90 days, and can add 45 days more.

[READ: 2018 World Cup Team Preview: Brazil]

Nyantakyi, vice president of the Confederation of African Football, is barred from attending a FIFA Council meeting on Sunday in Moscow, and the 2026 World Cup hosting vote three days later.

A television documentary this week showed Nyantakyi taking $65,000 in cash from undercover reporters posing as businessmen to secure favor with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and other government officials.

FIFA rules prohibit cash gifts.

Ghana’s government wants to disband the national soccer body Nyantakyi leads.

Ghana could be barred from the 2026 vote between Morocco and a joint North American bid.

Ghanaian FA “dissolved” while men’s team plays Iceland

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Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo has announced the dissolution of the nation’s Football Association.

The announcement comes as Ghana played a friendly in Iceland. The Black Stars failed to qualify for the World Cup.

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An undercover reporter filmed Ghana’s Kwesi Nyantakyi, a member of FIFA’s council, accepting a bribe as part of a widespread investigation into African football.

According to the BBC, a Ghanaian official cited the “widespread nature of the apparent rot” in the FA as reason for its dissolution. The BBC also saw the video, which showed Nyantakyi “placing $65,000 ‘shopping money’ into a plastic bag from an undercover reporter pretending to be a businessman keen to invest in Ghanaian football.”

From GhanaWeb:

According to the Sports Minister, Isaac Asiama, the dissolution of the league also means “all other activities related to the FA have been suspended until further notice.”

“We are going to put in place structures to ensure that we get in touch with FIFA and CAF to have a dialogue to get normalcy in place,” he told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Newsnight, Thursday.

State TV: Ghana president orders arrest of FIFA executive

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ACCRA, Ghana (AP) Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday ordered police to arrest football federation head Kwesi Nyantakyi, a member of the powerful FIFA Council, over allegations of fraud.

Akufo-Addo’s order was announced by the state-run Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

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Abu Jinapor, deputy chief of staff at the president’s office, said the order for Nyantakyi to be arrested and investigated related to an undercover documentary that purports to show the football official asking businessmen for money in return for access to the president and other senior government officials.

“It was a clear case of defrauding by false pretense,” Jinapor said, adding that Akufo-Addo’s order came after he watched excerpts from the documentary, which has not yet been broadcast.

Nyantakyi is president of the Ghana Football Association, a vice president of the Confederation of African Football, and has been a member of the ruling FIFA Council since 2016. He was the FIFA official chosen to oversee the football competition at the 2012 London Olympics.

Ghanaian media reported that Nyantakyi was not in Ghana at the time of the president’s order but was returning home.

Nyantakyi has been accused of improper behavior before when a British media investigation just before the 2014 World Cup claimed he had been willing to allow the Ghana national team to play in games that could be fixed by others. He denied the allegation.