The President of Ghana’s Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, was
exposed after he was filmed agreeing to the team playing in rigged
international matches, in return for payment of $170,000 per match.
The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches launched a six-month
investigation into match-fixing, after receiving information that
suggested that some football associations were working with criminal
gangs to rig scores in international games.
Reporters from The
Telegraph went under cover, claiming to represent an investment company
that wanted to “sponsor” matches during the tournament.
Forsythe, a registered Fifa agent and Obed Nketiah, a senior figure in
the Ghanaian FA, reportedly bragged about employing corrupt officials
who would rig matches played by Ghana.
The president of the
country’s football association then met the undercover reporter and
finalised a contract which would see the team play in the rigged
matches, in return for payment.
The contract stated that it
would cost $170,000 (£100,000) for each match organised by the fixers
involving the Ghanaian team, and would allow the bogus investment firm
to appoint match officials and referees.
“You [the company] will
always have to come to us and say how you want it to go…the result,”
said Mr Forsythe. “That’s why we will get the officials that we have
greased their palms, so they will do it. If we bring in our own
officials to do the match…You’re making your money.”
agent Christoipher Forsythe (r.) and Ghanaian FA official Obed Nketiah
(l.) meet with undercover reporters from The Telegraph, reportedly to
discuss fixing games involving Ghana’s national team
“You have to give them [the referees] something… they are going to do
a lot of work for you, so you have to give them something,” said Mr
Mr Forsythe said that match fixing was “everywhere” in
football and that he could even arrange rigged matches between Ghana and
British teams. “The referees can change the matches every time. Even in
England it does happen,” he said. “We will always choose
associations/countries that we think we can corrupt their officials for
all our matches.”
Mr Forsythe and Mr Nketiah then introduced the
undercover reporters to Kwesi Nyantakyi, the president of the Ghana FA,
at a five-star hotel in Miami earlier this month shortly before his
team played South Korea in Miami before heading to Brazil.
During the meeting in Florida, the president agreed to a contract that
stated each match would cost the investment company $170,000 and that
they could appoint the match officials for each game. A contract was
drawn up that specified that “The Company will appoint and pay for the
cost of the referees/match officials in consultation with an agreed Fifa
Member association(s),” in direct breach of the rules that prohibit
third parties from appointing officials, in order to protect their
impartiality. During the meeting, the president suggested that the
fictional investment company put on two matches after the World Cup to
prove that they were able to organise games.
?“So why don’t you
arrange matches?” said Mr Nyantakyi. “Let’s say there should be an
experimental period for us to see how we do your work? There is an
opportunity in August, and then in December, but I don’t know about
that. But these months appear to be the only time that we can have any
opportunity to play friendly games.”
When a reporter asked if
the president was happy with the contract, as long as it reflected the
experimental period he had requested, he replied, “Yeah these are the
issues that I’ve got with it.”
“So we can work on that with a trial game?” asked the investigator.
“Yeah,” replied the president.
When they were later confronted about their operation, both Mr Forsythe
and Mr Nketiah denied any involvement in a plot to fix matches. Mr
Nketiah said: “These are false allegations and I will never in my life
do such a thing.”
Mr Nyantakyi said that he had not read the
contract and he did not know about the deal to fix games. He said that
the proposed match would have been handled by a licensed Fifa match
agent and that he was unaware that Mr Forsythe had demanded £30,000 for
the football association.
Issuing a statement Mr Forsythe, said:
“To be frank everything I told you about the match fixing was a figment
of my own imagination because I am so naive that I don’t even know how
matches are done. They were promises just to be able to get something
The Ghanaian FA announced it has asked the Ghana
Police Service to investigate Mr Forsythe and Mr Nketiah for
“misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud”.
The football body has also reported the matter to FIFA and CAF.
In a statement, it said: “We wish to assure the public that we will not
tolerate such misrepresentations and we will seek strong sanctions
against such individuals if such claims are found to be true.”
Last week saw the first convictions of criminals in the UK for
attempting to rig football matches, following an earlier investigation
by this newspaper.
Chann Sankaran and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan,
businessmen from Singapore, and Michael Boateng, a former professional
footballer, were found guilty of match–fixing after a six-week trial.
Sankaran and Ganeshan were sentenced to five years and Boateng 18
months. Sankaran and Ganeshan were found to have links to the notorious
international match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, and were said to be
attempting to establish a network of corrupt footballers in Britain.
Instances of match fixing ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa
had prompted FIFA and its partners in the betting and law enforcement
agencies to monitor all friendlies ahead of this World Cup.