Investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw, has apologized for any damage his Number 12 exposé may have caused to football tournaments and activities in the country.
Speaking in a TV3 exclusive interview on Wednesday, June 27, Anas said he only set out to ensure that football affairs were run in the country devoid of back kicks, bribery, among other things.
However, Anas’ investigative documentary premiered on June 6 in Accra that exposed deepseated corruption in the football circle has caused the U-17 women team to stop training ahead of the 2018 U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Former Ghana Football Association President Kwesi Nyantaky, football administrators and scores of referees among others were captured on ta[e receiving monies to allegedly compromise his position.
Mr. Nyantakyi was consequently given a 90-day ban by FIFA forcing him to resign
“To be honest, I am just learning for the first time that that this one has stopped the under 17 women; I did not know. I do not follow football… if I have hurt the feelings of these people, I can only say I apologise,” he said in the one-on-one interview with TV’s Michael Oti Adjei.
Anas said he had no idea his work, the #Number12, will lead to a halt in football activities, adding he had no intention of disrupting football activities in Ghana.
Ghana’s Football Association is currently being dissolved by the government; an action many fear could result in the world football governing body FIFA banning Ghana from participating in its activities.
“I went into this story looking for good and quality football for Ghana, I think we are better than what we are displaying and I think that part of it is as a result of bad leadership, bad referees, and bad Ghana sports authorities that is why my investigation looked all these areas.
“I know that some of them will not be happy, but my intention was not to grind everything to a halt. My intention was for us to do retrospection into seeing where things have gone haywire and to find lasting solutions so that in five or six years to come, we will have a formidable national football team,” he clarified.
He expressed shock over what he described as a subculture among referees where they allow themselves to be bribed to fix matches in favour of the highest bidder.
“I got the picture that it has been a subculture for a long time, and it has devastating effects. What shocked me the most was the capacity to buy a yellow and red card, I did not know those things were affordable, the rot was so deep.”
According to Anas, a lot of Ghanaians invest their emotions into the game of football and do not deserve to be shortchanged by referees and football authorities.