Asante Kotoko fans must be calm. There is no need to panic. The US$240,000 fine imposed on the club by world football governing body, FIFA, will be paid before the May 17, 2020 deadline. That is the assurance from the club’s Deputy Accra Representative, Nana Kwame Dankwah.
Kotoko have been fined by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee for the illegal transfer of Emmanuel Clottey in 2015 who was then with Tunisian side, Esperance. Kotoko thus have about a month to pay the fine or be denied the chance to register new players locally or internationally.
Fears have been growing that, the club may not be able to meet the FIFA deadline. However, speaking on Joy FM’s Sports Link on Saturday, Nana Kwame disclosed that, efforts were being made to pay the fine on time. “Our supporters should remain calm. There is no cause for alarm. In fact, the Chairman is just organising himself to pay the money” said Nana Kwame.
He explained why Kotoko’s Management declined supporters’ request to organised a fundraising to help pay the fine. “The supporters front even wrote to Management for permission to organise fundraising but looking at the situation [vis-à-vis Covid-19], people are not working. So, taking money from the fans is not appropriate”.
Many have linked the illegal transfer issue and FIFA’s fine to the absence of proper administrative structures at the club. Nana Kwame avoided the invitation to apportion blame. He argued that, there was no need for blame games. “This is something we can discuss some other time. We just don’t want to blame anybody. Let us resolve the issue.
“After that, we believe, something can be learnt out of this. Definitely, we will have someone to blame but we don’t think that will be helpful now. Let us resolve the issue with FIFA. We are not in a position to put the blame anyone. Let us resolve the matter. When it is resolved, we can look forward to stopping some of these things”.
Player pay cuts
With football being suspended because of Covid-19 and the attendant lockdown, there have been suggestions that player salaries should be reduced. Nana Kwame shed light on the situation at Kotoko regarding player pay cuts. “As we speak, because of the [Covid-19] situation, the team is on break. The technical team and the medical team gave a programme to the players. I believe they are following it.
“Apart from that, there is this issue of pay cuts. Management has spoken with the Head Coach. He is to discuss it with the playing body and revert to us. At the moment, that is what we are confronted with. We are not imposing it on the players. We need to discuss it with them so that there will be [amicable] agreement. We are waiting to hear from them” said Nana Kwame.