The excellent strides made by the Ghana Premier League throughout the 2020/2021 season were undone by moments of disgust and reprehension arising from the decision by two clubs to play a match of convenience.
The league which had for most part of the season enjoyed positive press for the improved standard of play signed off in what could best be described as an anti-climax.
The actions of the two clubs, Ashgold and Inter Allies has ensured that instead of pundits and followers spending time to review a reviving football product, the conversation has centred on alleged match fixing by the two clubs.
The last round of matches for the Ghana Premier League were played over the weekend. Accra Hearts of Oak had already run away with the title and Inter Allies were condemned to relegation so the interest was just in the two relegation battle which Inter Allies has already ‘achieved’.
Ashgold were going to play Inter Allies in a game whose result had significance on how other relegation threatened teams were going to fare at the bottom of the table.
It is for this reason that when report emerged that Ashgold walloped Inter Allies 7-1, no one was alarmed as Allies had no motivation to play in the tie, having secured relegation earlier.
It was all well and good – even believable – until videos from the match began to trend on social media. The point of focus were the two own goals scored by Inter Allies.
After watching the highlight, one needed no angel to tell him or her that the match between the two clubs was fixed.
Inter Allies player Hashmin Musah scored two own goals in the most bizarre and embarrassing fashion to win the game 7-1 for Ashgold.
Hashmin reveals why he scored the own goals
Following wide condemnations on social media, Hashmin Musah came out to explain why he scored the two own goals.
He claims to have learnt of a plot by Ashgold officials to fix the match as they had staked a bet on it.
“After the game, my technical team commended me for spoiling the bet they had staked,” Musah told Kumasi FM, as reported by Citisportonline.
“I promised my coach that if he allows me to play from the bench, I will spoil the bet. And after the game, my team congratulated me.
“I heard it in our hotel that a bet had been made for a correct scoreline of 5-1 against my club, Inter Allies. I decided to spoil that bet because I don’t condone betting.”
Ashgold responds to allegations
At this time, the issue had generated national interest. Ghanaians had become incensed that the league will suffer such reputational damage.
Ashanti Gold issued a statement, stating that they competed in the true spirit of sportsmanship and won competitively.
“We take notice of the videos circulating in relation to our game against Inter Allies and wish to unequivocally disassociate [ourselves] from any wrongdoing,” Ashanti Gold said in a statement on Monday.
“Ashanti Gold played competitively in the entire duration of the game, with our players scoring five great goals through hard work and team effort in the 15th, 26th, 42nd, 49th and 77th minutes respectively.
“We have no idea as to why the opponents’ player scored two own goals after we were up by five goals, with 13 minutes to end the game.”
“We demonstrated throughout the game we were determined to play to the best of our abilities, and not to play to any pre-determined score line as it’s been circulated,” Ashanti Gold statement continued.
“We therefore vehemently disassociate ourselves from any match-fixing and wish to urge all persons and organisations wrongfully accusing the club of match fixing to desists from that, as we won’t hesitate to take legal actions against such parties.
“As a renowned sporting brand, we have always believed in fair play and would continue to act in the good interest of the game.”
Inter Allies investigating the issue
Inter Allies also issued a statement denying that they were unaware of any match fixing plot and had launched an internal investigation.
“The said video shows a player of Inter Allies, Hashmin Musah scoring 2 deliberate own goals. The Management condemns any such conduct and activity that compromises the integrity of the game.
“Without any prejudice to Ghana Football Association’s investigation, the Management of the Club has instituted an internal inquiry headed by Paul Parker Atitsogbui Esq to look into the matter and advise management accordingly.
“We wish to state that any official or player found culpable of having played any role in the said matter shall be reported to the Ghana Football Association for appropriate sanctions. Once again, the Management wishes to dissociate ourselves from such unprofessional conduct.”
GFA investigating the match
Shortly after those two statements, the Ghana Football Association also released a statement that it has launched investigations into the matter.
“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) wishes to inform all its members and the public that the Association has opened investigations into the Ghana Premier League Matchday 34 game played between Ashanti Gold SC and Inter Allies FC at the Len Clay stadium at Obuasi on Saturday, July 17, 2021,” the GFA has stated in a statement on its official website on Monday.
Some pieces of information picked up by GhanaWeb from football persons indicate that the match was fixed for betting purposes.
A very influential figure in one of the two clubs whose identity cannot be disclosed for now had made it a habit of using his club to stake bets.
He did same in the game and it appears his cover was blown.
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