Despite suspending 74 of its members implicated in a match-fixing scandal, the Referees Association of Ghana (RAG) insists that it still has on its books more than enough referees to officiate football games in the country.
The RAG on Saturday announced that it had provisionally suspended 74 of its officials who were implicated in a match-fixing scandal instigated by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas pending a Disciplinary Committee hearing to determine their fate.
Incidents of spot-fixing as well as pre-determining the outcome of Ghana Premier League matches, Women's League, Division One League and games in the MTN FA Cup by the referees were captured by Anas over a tw0-year period in a documentary titled #Number 12.
A breakdown of the referees include six FIFA referees, seven Assistant FIFA Referees, 21 Ghana Premier League Referees, 21 Premier Assistant Referees, four Division One Referees, six Division One Assistant Referees, four Women's League referees and five Retired Referees leading to suggestions that there are no more referees to officiate games following the suspension.
However, the Chairman of the RAG, Joe Debrah says his outfit has more referees to handle games if the greenlight was given for league matches to proceed in the country.
"We have more than 2,000 (referees), Brong Ahafo alone has about 600, Greater Accra alone has almost 900 only people don't know that's why. We have more," Mr Debrah told the Graphic Sports in a telephone interview yesterday.
"If the whole Premier referees should go, who are 120, we can replace them. If we are to press the button tomorrow we can get referees who will officiate the Premier League and they will perform even better because now everybody wants to prove his mite for people to know that it is not all of us who are like how the public perceives these people".
Mr Debrah said although he was not thrilled that some referees were implicated in the scandal, he believes it will provide the RAG with the opportunity for much-needed reforms especially with regards to the appointment of FIFA referees.
According to him, in the past embattled former GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi had the final say with regards to who was presented with a FIFA badge irrespective of who the RAG nominated.
He stated: "I am a national chairman but I never knew the criteria for selecting FIFA referees in Ghana, I don't have any input when they are selecting FIFA referees in Ghana, everything is done by the GFA, is it fair? Is it proper? Is it appropriate?
"When we have made our list to the GFA, Kwesi Nyantakyi can say the list he has had a complaint somewhere so he is going to sit down somewhere and select people to officiate the league even suspended referees like Prince Amoah were given matches in the past".
He also disclosed that a week after receiving the entire #Number 12 documentary, his outfit has formed a five-member committee chaired by its national vice chairman, Mr George Sejia to investigate and determine the fate of the 74 suspended referees in line with the RAG constitution.
Other members of the Disciplinary Committee are former Ashanti regional Vice Chairman of RAG, Mr EK Asante (Vice Chairman), ASP Musah Ali Plato (Member Secretary), Mr TRK Atiffu (Member) and Miss Emmanuela Aglaglo).