So says the law and its technicalities.
Mr. Muntari probably went silent for too long and may have to fall on a “Special Leave to Appeal” a government White Paper on him before standing the chance playing for Ghana again. That will be quite a strenuous work to do at the Ghana courts. You get what I mean (permit my mischief). Oya! put on your trainers and run to the court of appeal, else forget!
On that fateful Thursday June 26, 2014, hours to Ghana’s final group game with Portugal at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, the GFA issued a statement suspending midfielder Sulley Muntari indefinitely for disciplinary reasons.
Muntari had apparently manhandled a GFA Executive Committee member, Moses Armah, two days prior in what was described as “an unprovoked physical attack”. The incident occurred during one of meetings over the delayed payments of the team’s World Cup appearance fees.
The former AC Milan star chose to tow an unapologetic path since the incident even refusing to avail himself to a commission of inquiry into the entire Brazil fiasco.
Fast forward 2016 – 713 days or to break down better, 1 year, 11 months, 13 days since Muntari was stripped off all entitlements and sent home from Ghana’s team hotel in Brasilia, the midfielder finally showed remorse.
The Ghana Football Association, Tuesday night, released an apology from Muntari in which he grovelled and pleaded to be forgiven for his actions at the Brazil World Cup.
In the final paragraph of the letter, Muntari stated: “I am always available to play for the Senior National Team of Ghana whenever I am invited.”
An obvious show of intent to return donning the enviable Black Stars jersey but the Saudi Arabia-based player’s letter to the GFA is just not enough to clear him to represent Ghana again. The penalties of his inability to open up to the Justice Dzamefe Commission during its sittings and the final recommendation drawn on him in the government White Paper are here haunting him.
First the Commission laid down three conditions for Sulley Muntari to adhere to before returning to the national team. It stated that he should “apologize to Mr. Moses Armah; the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Commission and to Ghanaians in general; and referral to a psychologist for counseling and or undergo anger therapy.”
The White Paper in upholding the recommendation however said: “Government is of the view that any apology from Mr. Sulley Muntari as recommended should be a voluntary act of contrition on his part but should not be made a condition for his recall into the team.”
Another portion of the White Paper, touching on ‘Discipline in the Black Stars camp’, strongly advised against inviting Mr. Muntari as well as Kevin-Prince Boateng (who was also sacked from the team camp at the world cup for indiscipline) to the national team.
It stated: “Government further advises that the two players should not be recalled into the Black Stars camp in order to maintain the discipline that appears to have been restored since Brazil 2014.”
Explaining the ramifications of the above White paper order vis-à-vis Muntari’s ‘I’m available again’ apology letter, a learned lawyer, Egbert Faibile Jnr. has cautioned the temperamental footballer to head to the courts, file an appeal and overturn the Commission of Inquiry’s findings against him if he seriously intends to play for Ghana again.
According to him, Article 280(2) of the constitution of Ghana states that any adverse finding made against any person who appears before a Commission of Inquiry has the effect of a judgment of a High Court and unless the person appeals against the finding at a Court of Appeal for it to be quashed, the effect still holds and anything contrary to the judgment will constitute contempt.
Lawyer Faibile Jnr. said in an interview with Kasapa Fm Sports: “If the Ghana Football Association, Kwasi Nyantakyi or Avram Grant decides to call Sulley Ali Muntari back into the Black Stars it will be contempt since the adverse findings against Sulley Ali Muntari and KP Boateng still holds.
“I know the President of the Football Association is a learned fellow and knows this so the GFA will not do anything that will amount to contempt.
“The onus lies on Sulley Ali Muntari and his advisers to seek redress in a Court of Appeal to reverse the adverse finding if he wants a return to the team.
“Although the right of appeal should have been exercised within three months after the Commission’s report, Muntari fortunately can fall on what we call “Special Leave to Appeal” to seek redress.
“Overturning the adverse finding that bans him from joining the team is the only way that can guarantee his return to the team even if the technical handlers agree to call him back because not even the President of the land can reverse any adverse finding after a white paper has been issued on a Commission of Inquiry’s findings.”
Asamoah Gyan’s Muntari wish
Back in December last year, Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan, in an interview, professed his wish to see the suspended Sulley Muntari back into the national team.
“We all know Sulley and what he brings to this team. His quality is immense and I will be very glad to welcome him back. He has scored very important goals for our country and so yes, we need him.
“But I am not the coach and so can’t determine when he will earn a recall. If the coach decides to recall him, we’ll be happy to have him back…,” he said.
So over to you Muntari! Time is not really your friend I fear. Afcon 2017 on my mind. Good luck!!
Credit: GH One TV