Ghana deny match-fixing claims

LONDON - Fresh match-fixing claims are set to cast a shadow over the World Cup in the wake of allegations that officials connected to the Ghanaian FA were prepared to rig international friendly matches.

As part of a joint investigation with Channel 4's Dispatches, the Daily Telegraph filmed a registered Fifa agent, Christopher Forsythe and Obed Nketiah, who sits on the management committee of the Ghana under-20 team, allegedly promising they would be able to arrange a deal to rig international friendlies.

The pair allegedly claimed they would be able to "grease the palms" of Ghana officials to ensure the deal was signed and would include a clause allowing them to select the officials for the friendlies, who would then be able to influence the scoreline.

The Ghanaian FA immediately issued a statement which said the two men had been reported to the police "for misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud".

It confirmed that Forsythe and Nketiah had approached its president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, with a proposal to buy the rights to friendlies for the Black Stars.

It claimed that they then turned up without appointment at the Ghanaian pre-World Cup training camp in Miami to discuss their offer, which was submitted to the GFA's legal committee.

"We wish to state that the GFA did not sign the contract as we waited for the response from the legal committee and that the two gentlemen did not make such corrupt offers to the GFA or its officials.".

However, the Telegraph alleged that Nyantakyi had agreed, on a "trial basis", to a contract that stated the investment company would pay $170,000 (£100,000) for each match and gave them the right to appoint match officials.

Forsythe and Nketiah denied any involvement in a plot to fix matches. Nketiah said: "These are false allegations and I will never in my life do such a thing."

Forsythe said: "To be frank everything I told [the Telegraph] 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 off you."

Nyantakyi said he had not read the contract and he did not know about the deal to fix games. He said the proposed match would have been handled by a licensed Fifa match agent and he was unaware that Forsythe had demanded £30,000 for the GFA, the Telegraph reported.

Ghana drew 2-2 with Germany on Saturday but will face inevitable questions over the new claims, which are the latest in a long line of allegations that suggest football has an endemic problem with match-fixing. – Press Association

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