The Disciplinary Committee of the World football governing body, FIFA, has dismissed South Africa’s protest against Ghana for a replay of their last group stage World Cup qualifier.
South Africa Football Association (SAFA) alleged match-fixing, match manipulation, bribery and corruption in a petition to FIFA on November 15, 2021, and requested an investigation into its claims.
“The protest lodged by South Africa has been declared inadmissible by the Disciplinary Committee as it did not meet the requirements foreseen under art. 46 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and art. 14 of the Regulations of the Preliminary Competition of the FIFA World Cup 2022”.FIFA
SAFA President, Danny Jordan also claimed betting spikes during certain moments of the game before Ghana was awarded a penalty which was converted by Black Stars skipper, Andre Ayew.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) in a response to claims, asked the governing body to dismiss the application and sanction SAFA for bringing the image of football to disrepute.
SAFA may appeal
The World Football governing body however, noted that “the decision of the Disciplinary Committee is subject to appeal”. It is unclear if SAFA will appeal the decision, but reports from South Africa media claim, they will proceed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports if the verdict does not favor them.
Meanwhile the South African FA has reacted to FIFA’s response, saying it has taken notice of the ruling and will act in due course.
“The South African Football Association (SAFA) will consider its options after the world football governing body (FIFA) dismissed its protest following Bafana Bafana’s controversial 1-0 loss to the Black Stars of Ghana last month”.SAFA
According to SAFA, it has received the ruling without details and will request FIFA for reasons and consider its options.
The ruling did not mention anything about the Senegalese referee Maguatte Ndiaye which means the match official is free from any claims of dubious officiating during the match in Cape Coast.
Black Stars to play in play offs next year
The decision by FIFA means Ghana finished above South Africa in Group G on goals scored and progressed to Africa’s play-offs next March.
Bafana Bafana needed a draw against the west Africans last month to reach the third and final round of the African World Cup qualifiers, but Ghana won 1-0 thanks to a first-half penalty.
Replays show that the defender used both hands to prevent Amartey from hitting the ball into the net which prompted the decision of the referee which was expertly converted by Andre Ayew.
South Africa believes a precedent was set five years ago when Bafana Bafana were forced to replay a 2018 World Cup qualifier after a referee was found guilty of match manipulation. However, this did not happen this time around.
This means Ghana can now wait for the draw for the final play-offs in January with the games set to be played on a home and away basis.
As it stands, Ghana will not be seeded because the Black Stars are currently ranked seventh in Africa. Meanwhile, the top five teams on the continent at the moment are Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria.
In effect, the Black Stars will face one of the above teams in the play-offs in their bid to return to the World Cup in 2022.