Sports Minister Nii Lantey Vanderpuye says he has scrapped honouring the protocol component in national team budgets presented by the Ghana Football Association until given enough justification to do so.
“What is protocol?,” he quipped in an interview on Accra-based Citi FM’s Sports Panorama. “I‘ve stopped paying. I will not pay [for protocol] unless somebody defines to me what the protocol is; unless somebody tells me what it is meant for, I wouldn’t pay,” Vanderpuye who is undertaking new reforms to make the Sports Ministry more efficient stated.
He went on: “For now, I’ve cancelled protocol; I’ve cancelled payment of bonuses to management [committee] members for now. I said I would want to have justification for why I should pay.”
Protocols are unclassified payments which have become a constant feature in budgets prepared by the football governing body for the national teams especially the Black Stars. Protocols have been deemed as an important component a successful campaign, either qualifiers or tournament proper.
A few years ago, a $200,000 amount was set aside for protocol in an $8 million dollar budget presented for Ghana’s Afcon 2013 participation in South Africa.
It later emerged that for Ghana’s poor World Cup outing in Brazil 2014, the ‘protocol’ bill allegedly ranged from $100,000 to $200,000 a match.
The Justice Dzamefe-led Commission of Inquiry which was instituted to look into matters on Ghana’s World Cup sham had advised government not to include “Unclassified and Indemnity Payments” in budgets due to its nature for accounting purposes but the White Paper rejected the recommendation. The Government’s White Paper in support of such payments instead, ordered a strict control of the payment of ‘protocol’.
Paragraph 3.6.6 of the White Paper on the report of the Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the participation of the Black Stars team in the World Cup tournament in Brazil 2014 reads:
“Government does not accept the recommendation that unclassified payments for protocol purposes, which cannot be officially accounted for, should not be included in the budget since all budget line items should be accounted for. Members of the football fraternity are aware that unforeseen and unanticipated, and yet unavoidable and inevitable, payments are a necessary concomitant of the game at the competitive level.
“Government therefore directs that while such “unclassified” payments may be included in the budget line, their utilization must be strictly controlled and must be confirmed by the issuance of “Honour Certificates” by the officials entrusted with their utilization. As the Commission recommends at page 89 of the Report “Honour Certificates should be used to only support cases when it is impracticable to obtain receipts or third party documentation for payments”.