Palmer smells a conspiracy

Author: Maurice Quansah
Wilfred Osei Palmer
Wilfred Osei Palmer

The much-anticipated Ghana Football Association elections could be in jeopardy as it faces two legal challenges that may derail the planned polls on October 24 and 25 or even have far-reaching consequences on the legitimacy of the next GFA president.

Two of the disqualified candidates for the upcoming elections, Messrs Roy Arthur and Wilfred Osei Kweku (Palmer), have taken steps to seek justice in court within different jurisdictions. Mr Arthur, who was barred from contesting the Executive Council (ExCo) election, last Friday filed an ex-parte motion for an interlocutory injunction on the elections as he challenges the grounds on which the vetting committee dismissed his application to participate in the polls.

However, Mr Osei has taken his fight for justice to the highest legal body in sports after petitioning the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland to overturn the verdict.

Information pieced together by the Graphic Sports indicates that Palmer’s legal team, led by Thaddeus Sory of the law firm Sory@Law, last Friday filed a voluminous defence (said to me in excess of 80 points) at the Laussane-based CAS, whose decision is final and binding on major international bodies, including FIFA and the GFA.

Following a decision last week by the GFA Normalisation Committee to reject an appeal against his disqualification by the vetting committee, which screened the seven presidential aspirants, the Tema Youth FC president decided to seek justice at CAS and abandoned any legal challenge in the law courts in Ghana.

A spokesperson for Palmer’s campaign, Ebo Appiah, explained to the Graphic Sports that the legal team had furnished CAS with a comprehensive report of all that had transpired in the run up to the elections, including details of what they perceive to be raw injustice meted out to Palmer.

“Our petition details all that has happened; it is very comprehensive to give CAF a clear picture of what has occasioned our petition.

“The whole process was flawed right from the beginning when the Normalisation Committee unilaterally expunged portions of the eligibility criteria agreed at the GFA Extraordinary Congress. And their intransigence throughout has confirmed our belief of a plot against Palmer,” Mr Appiah told the Graphic Sports yesterday.

Earlier, the disqualified candidate had hinted of his intention to seek an injunction against the election, but Mr Appiah said they were no longer confident they would obtain justice in Ghana so they had to abandon that course and put their faith in a neutral international body which had the power to nullify the result of the election if it came off on the scheduled dates this month.

He said Palmer was aware that the CAS route embarked on could take months for a final verdict to be given, by which time a new FA president would have been elected and sworn into office but they were bent on obtaining justice and were not concerned whose ox would be gored by the outcome of their petition.

“There is a whole conspiracy against Palmer so we have no other option than to seek justice outside the country; we no longer trust the local system to ensure fairness.

“Justice must be our main aim in this process, but what we have witnessed from day one is a far cry from a fair playing ground for all contestants; this one could best pass for selective justice.”

In their petition to CAS, the Graphic Sports understands that Palmer’s legal team have added a 29-second voice/audio believed to be the voice of the GFA Normalisation Committee president, Dr Kofi Amoah, in which the said person can be heard questioning the integrity of Palmer to head the GFA, when he failed to fulfil a signed agreement with the GFA in respect of 10 per cent of the transfer fees of former Tema Youth star, Joseph Paintsil – one of the grounds for the disqualification of the Tema Youth FC owner.