The attitude of the GFA, as well as CAF towards Sulley Muntari’s ban and racist abuse, is highly questionable. But here are possible reasons why the authorities are turning deaf ears to the issue…
Ghana International Sulley Muntari suffered disheartening racist abuse at a Seria A clash between his club Pescara and Cagliari. The incident which set an international agenda for discussion surprisingly has not garnered much attention in the Ghanaian media. This is said to be due to speculations that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is being reluctant towards the issue.
The 32-year-old was rudely booed at by supporters of his opponents, Cagliari at the final minutes of the match. Furious Muntari protested against referee Daniele Minelli asking him to stop the match because of the racist chants directed at him.
His calls for a disciplinary action, however, fell on deaf ears as the referee booked him for dissent. Muntari angrily left the pitch in protest leaving Pescara who lost 1-0 to play stoppage time with 10 men.
At the time, officials of the match including the referee maintained they did not hear racist slurs from the crowd. For this reason, no disciplinary actions were taken as Muntari left the pitch.
This brings us to the most unfortunate part of the story. Sulley Muntari was banned for one game by Seria A’s disciplinary committee, after the committee termed inappropriate, his way of handling the issue. Muntari’s ban, as well as the racist abuse, has attracted lots of condemnation among sports stakeholders across the globe. Read all about Muntari’s ban here.
To state the obvious, it is a standard policy in international football that a referee should stop a game for racist abuse. This move coupled with other disciplinary actions against perpetrators of the act are also expected in such case. Actions like these are forms of statements from governing bodies against racial discrimination in sports or anywhere else.
But this was not so in Muntari’s case because Seria A league had slightly different rules. Seria A’s disciplinary committee rather, said that no action would be taken against Cagliari over the incident. The committee said although the chanting was considered deplorable, only an approximate number of 10 individuals were involved; which is not enough to warrant punishment for the club.
Coming back to Ghana
It is a known fact that Sulley Muntari’s incident has attracted global condemnation including from Ghanaian footballers, fans, Fifpro, the UN among others. However, this is not the case with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Neither the GFA nor CAF have reacted to the very sensitive issue which has to do with one of their own. Although Sulley Muntari has some bad records to his name, a section of Ghanaians feels there should be more back up and support from his home country.
About the bad records; football both in Ghana and internationally, has had a fair share of Muntari’s escapades over the years. It can be recalled that in 2014 Muntari was suspended indefinitely during the FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil for an attack on Black Stars management committee member Moses Armah.
The verbal and physical attack which triggered the Black Stars disastrous and unforgettable outing in Brazil 2014, earned Muntari the distaste of Ghanaians and the GFA.
Furthermore, Muntari over the years has been involved in a host of controversial angry reactions. Some of them include altercations with renowned player David Beckham, US player Jermain Jones, and many others; fights that always see the Ghanaian player seize the throats of his opponents. These and much more are more reasons authorities have overlooked issues that have to do with the former Balck Stars player.
Ghanaian Gov’t Needs to Do More
But for an issue that has to do with racism, a section of Ghanaians believe that the government ought to do more than paying deaf ears to the incident. The Ghanaian government has been called on to release a public statement to condemn Muntari’s ban as well as the racist abuse he suffered. President Nana Addo’s administration has been urged to throw their weight behind Muntari who despite his escapades, is still a Ghanaian citizen.
Former President Mahama has publicly condemned the racist abuse meted out to Muntari as well as Seria A’s ban on the defender. The ex-president posted a tweet on the issue, where he threw his weight behind the suspended player and called for more attention towards the sensitive issue.