Youth and Sports Minister Nii Lantey Vanderpauye has dared the Ghana Football Association to challenge him in court that government does not own the national teams.
There is a dispute over who owns the national teams after the Sports Ministry wrote to the Ghana Football Association last week in a controversial letter. The May 17 communication openly warned the GFA to desist from unilaterally organising and signing contracts and memoranda regarding friendly matches of the Black Stars and all other national teams.
Last month, Nii Lantey also noted his displeasure at the FA for not including his outfit in a friendly involving Ghana's Local Black Stars team and Japan – something the minsitry noted was happening for the second time.
The former Sports broadcaster has reiterated that the national teams are for the state and that he hopes that action will not be repeated by the GFA.
“If any member of the Ghana FA feels otherwise, they can write to me or go to court and say that I am claiming what constitutionally is not my mandate and authority- so they can go to court and restrain me from taking that path,” he told Joy FM's Sports Track on Monday.
Speaking in a very measure toned, Vanderpuye said, “I will not hesitate to take the most serious decision in the interest of Ghana football and Ghanaians if that thing happens again, I have got an informal response but it will be better for them to put it on paper so that we can continue a very healthy relationship."
These comments come on the back of an appearance by GFA member Kofi Manu on the Joy Sports Link on Saturday. In that interview, Manu had sought to justify the FA's long-held view that they could take certain decisions without recourse to the sports ministry by quoting provisions in the Constitution of Ghana.
But Vanderpuye is also adamant that if the GFA claims ownership of national teams, they should not not always fall on the state for funding.
Manu's view – held by many in the GFA – was that the sports ministry (and by extension the government of Ghana) only had a "social duty" to fund the national teams, and that per the rules of FIFA, the GFA was the only body mandated to call the shots where national teams were concerned.
"The national teams are all products of the GFA, which is the country's officially mandated representative, and not the government of Ghana", Manu told Nathaniel Attoh.
And Vanderpuye, who stance against FA unilateralism is legendary, repeated his subtle warnings on Monday. “Once this thing [where the GFA signs matches for friendly matches without government knowledge] happened and I have got a member of the GFA executive committee to say oh Honourable sorry it was an oversight and that it will not happen again, I have taken it in good faith because I respect the opinion of that person and I know it will not happen again."
“We are supposed to work together in the interest of Ghana Football and I wouldn’t want to go on a path of any strange relationship with anybody- I would want to be respected and I would respect everybody.”
Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports