On the opening day of an Accra High court’s hearing of AshGold’s interlocutory injunction case against the Ghana Premier League, there was a pensive mood amongst representatives from the Ghana Football Association.
This was the morning of Friday, October 14.
General Secretary, Prosper Harrison Addo, and some three others; Oduro Sarfo, Kingsley Osei Bonsu and Serwaa Mensah Quainoo, were the only ‘non-legal’ representatives from the GFA when the case was called at 9am.
In fact, when the court registrar called for the GFA’s representatives to stand, Harrison Addo had to gesture to Osei Bonsu and Oduro Sarfo after only he and Mensah Quainoo responded to the call.
Some 30 minutes after, it was Harrison Addo who stepped out first upon conclusion of the first hearing, and this time for a different reason. The GFA’s General Secretary was angry and frustrated with the proceedings of that day.
AshGold had managed to have the court allow them to submit supplementary affidavits in support of their case for an injunction.
And although they were unable to submit their additional arguments on that same day, the court had given them room to make their submission by seeking leave of the court on Monday, October 17, before a court’s decision the following Thursday.
This meant, the actual case for an injunction was not going to be heard anytime soon and Harrison Addo was boiling, incensed with AshGold’s seeming ploy to further delay the resumption of the Ghana Premier League with what the GFA believed to be ‘court gimmicks’.
‘They said they will frustrate us, and they are doing it’ was a retort my ears snatched at from one of the GFA’s cohorts standing behind me.
Six days later, there was a full representation of the GFA in court, as president, Kurt Okraku, Habiba Arthur and Tony Aubynn added up to the numbers of the FA’s Executive Committee present at the hearing.
On October 25, the entourage – led by Okraku, arrived at the Human Rights court once again, with a seeming inexplicable spring in their step.
There was an earlier case – this time for contempt, between the same parties which had dragged on for more than two hours yet reached no conclusion.
However, the injunction hearing itself did not last an hour. Minutes after doors of the courtroom shut for proceedings to commence, they were reopened, with the head of a GFA representative amongst the first – again, to ‘step out’.
This time, it was the head of its president, and with a face which gave away little.
But almost immediately, like a meandering river, the court’s ruling had trickled out. The court had thrown out AshGold’s case and the news was greeted with singing by men who were waiting in the corridors.
The singing was quite loud, accompanied by shouts of ‘still believe’ – Okraku at the fore and the index finger of his left hand up to drive home the point – in direct contrast to how his General Secretary looked two weeks before.
In the midst of it all his vice, Mark Addo, spoke to me off-record on the sides: “What else did you expect?” Was his first reaction after stepping out of the courtroom.
Ahead, the singing and chants of Okraku and those who commiserated with the GFA and Ghana Premier League, had left the corridors of the courtroom to the compound of the courts.
And after initially giving away very little, Okraku’s face now gave away probably too much – drawn into an almost uncontrollable smile, even a grin maybe.
“The court has made a pronouncement and the Football Association will follow the pronouncement.
Football is back,” the FA president said to the media present on his way to his car. And “atanfuo nny3 Nyame” was what one of the GFA’s cohorts shouted to its‘ enemies are not God’.
But right before entering his car, hugs were shared, with the FA president the source. Eastern Region FA chairman, Linford Asamoah was the first receiver with Atta Forson following shortly after.
Vice-president, Addo was also there while Oduro Sarfo and Dr Tony Aubynn received their shares of the spoils.
Court’s ruling after injunction hearing
The court’s decision to throw out AshGold’s case for an injunction on the Ghana Premier League was anchored on the processes followed in the build-up to the final hearing.
AshGold’s submission of supplementary affidavits in support of the injunction, as well as the GFA’s affidavit in opposition and their statement of the case
The court argued an injunction could cause irreparable damage, as the GFA which was representing 18 clubs, will have suffered more.
These 18 clubs, whose livelihoods are based on the Ghana Premier League – and had already had their business curtailed in the three-week window of the hearing, were a highlight for the court in making its ruling.