Lawyers question airlift of cash to Black Stars players

ACCRA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on Friday criticized government's decision to airlift 3 million U.S. dollars cash to pay players of the senior national soccer team, the Black Stars, in Brazil.

The Ghanaian government carted the amount when the players boycotted training ahead of Thursday's final Group G match against Portugal until President Mahama intervened.

In a statement issued in Accra, the GBA noted that government' s decision to bow to the pressure from the players did not only break the law but also set a bad precedent for the citizenry.

It said its investigations had revealed that there was an agreement with the players for their appearance fees and allowances to be paid into their bank accounts.

But midstream in the competition, the players insisted on being paid physical cash with the threat of boycotting the competition and thereby stampeded the authorities into physically transporting the colossal sum of money from Accra to Brazil.

The Lawyers' group said at a time that the Bank of Ghana was making strenuous efforts to stabilize the local currency (cedi), it was totally imprudent that the players could be allowed to ride roughshod over the whole country.

"Government must be seen to be leading the line in playing by the rules set by law and institutions of state and not assist a group of people to break the law. This is utterly despicable," said the statement signed by Nene Amegatcher, GBA National President.

The Association called on the leadership of the Ghana Football Association, the Ministry of Sports and Parliament to fashion out a strict code for the use of footballers and other sports personalities in any future event relating to discipline in camp and the payment of bonuses and allowances.

It congratulated officials who stamped their authority by expelling Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng for misconduct and suggested that discipline must be the hallmark of Ghana's teams and individuals engaged in sports and not merely the desire to win.

"This discipline must percolate to all facets of nation- building," Amegatcher said.