Youth and Sports Minister Akua Sena Dansua says the government must be absolved of any delay in paying the Black Starsí outstanding World Cup bills. Rather, she is pointing fingers at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for bringing that situation about.

But the FA vice president, Fred Pappoe, believes the delay could be more of a systemic challenge than a deliberate act.

The ministry and the GFA, prior to the South Africa FIFA World Cup, agreed that all earnings accruing to the team would be transferred into state account. However, upon receipt of the FIFA money, the minister alleged that the FA demanded that some percentage be retained with the local football controlling body, and also wanting the assurance that the government would use the money for football development in the country.

The minsterís outburst was in direct reaction to views that the government was insensitive to the needs of the players and its apparent refusal/delay in paying the players might have contributed to the teamís 0-0 drawn game against The Sudan on October 10 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

A letter sighted by the Graphic Sports showed that the ministry wrote to the FA on September 15 asking it to transfer the money into an account following the FAís own admission that it had received over $11 million being its share of the FIFA money after the June 10 to the July 10 competition.

However, since the money was in an off-shore account, the ministry needed to provide a corresponding bank account through which the money could be transferred to the Bank of Ghana.

Mr Pappoe said indeed when the first attempt at transferring the money on September 28 failed, the FA went back to the minister two days later after which the appropriate corresponding account number was given for the transfer to be effected.

On October 6, this year, the ministry was said to have received a confirmation that the money had been paid into the account and subsequently wrote to the Chief of Staff, Mr John Henry Martey Newman, for approval.

Mr Newman is said to have given approval for $50,000 each (being $30,000 for each appearnace fee in Ghana-Uruguay match as well as $20,000 each promised by President Atta Mills) for getting to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Ms Dansua said now that the money had been approved, it would have to go through the process from the Ministry of Finance to the Controller and Accountant General and the Bank of Ghana before payment could be effected.

She emphasised that government had no intention of strangling the Black Stars and gave an assurance that it would do everything possible to motivate the payers and their handlers to qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Daily Graphic