Liberia Football Association Claims Innocence for Referee Yekeh, Despite Anas Video
Monrovia – The Director of Referees at the Liberia Football Association (LFA), Mr. Ebenezer Stanley Konnah, has said that Liberia international referee Jerry Yekeh is free from Ghanaian Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ report on how referees and officials in Africa received bribes to influence the results of matches locally and internationally.
Report by Christopher C. Walker, [email protected]
Anas recently released a video that was broadcast on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) with over 110 referees and top football officials in Africa showed during their dubious act.
One of the video footages shows the experienced Liberian referee Jerry Yekeh among some referees receiving bribe ahead of the match between Ghana vs Mali in the 2017 WAFU Nations Cup held in Cape Coast, Ghana.
According to Anas’ undercover report, all the referees that officiated Ghana’s games at the September 2017 West African Football Union (WAFU) Tournament held in Cape Coast were bribed.
The investigators made specific reference to the September 16, 2017 Group A match between hosts Ghana and Mali which was officiated by Yekeh.
But speaking to Frontpage Africa on Wednesday, June 20, Mr. Konnah admitted that his referee was indeed pictured in the video where referees were ushered in a room where Anas’ undercover reporters were giving out the cash by Charles Donwouna, a senior Ghanaian Technical Instructor, who was also in charge of referees at the 2017 WAFU Nations Cup but said Liberia FIFA badge referee Yekeh was not part of the transaction that took place.
“None of my referees were linked to bribery in Africa. I saw the video, it did not show any Liberian referee receiving money to favor a team. Those that got the money names are public and Jerry was not mentioned so he is innocent.”
“Jerry did enter the room because his colleagues were there and his intend was to carry the game sheet, which was clearly shown,” Ebenezer added.
He asserted that CAF and FIFA have written all the referees and individuals who were pictured receiving the bribe but Jerry was not written which shows he is innocent.
Konnah, a former FIFA referee, said Yekeh’s international records show he has never been involved in bribery throughout his referee life and sees no reason why he will want to engage in such act.
The referee director warned referees of Liberia not to engage in any form of bribery at local or international level because if his office notices such, those referees will be suspended or expelled.
Commenting on what the video has caused Africa, Konnah said, “It is damaging worrisome and unfortunate at this time for this to happen to African referees. It does not show a good image about us when we are competing with other referees around the world.”
Two of the referees that were caught on camera in the investigation, Gambian referee Ebrima Jallow and Kenyan referee Aden Marwa have since resigned from their respective associations.
Jallow announced last week that he has stepped aside from all refereeing matters until investigation into the bribery allegation is fully completed.
Marwa, who was one of the linesmen to represent Africa at the ongoing FIFA world Cup in Russia, also withdrew from the world’s biggest football fiesta, after he was caught receiving US$600 from Anas’ reporters.
After receiving the paltry sum in bribe, Marwa forfeited at least sh2.5 million Kenyan shillings for appearing at the World Cup.
Kwesi Nyantakyi, the “bigfish” caught in the investigation, was seen apparently accepting a gift of US$65,000 “shopping money” from an undercover reporter. He denies any wrongdoing.
He has since resigned from the post he held with FIFA as well as the Ghana Football Association (GFA). He has also stepped aside from his roles with CAF including as 1st vice-president, the most senior figure at the confederation after its president.
Football’s world governing body, FIFA suspended Nyantakyi for 90 days on June 8, but he has now left his role on the FIFA Council.
CAF has announced that it will hold a vote at an Extraordinary Congress on September 30, 2018 in Egypt to fill the CAF 1st Vice-President function and the vacancy on the FIFA Council.
Ghana Football Referee Association is also investigating over 70 local referees named in the disgraceful scandal.