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25 June 2014

Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team.

Ghana has sent a plane carrying more than $3 million in cash to Brazil to pay the World Cup appearance fees owed to the national soccer team, known as the Black Stars.
“The players insisted that they will want physical cash,” Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yammin said in comments broadcast by Accra-based Citi FM. “Government had to mobilize the money and a chartered flight to Brazil. The money is in excess of $3 million.”
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama contacted the team and the arrangements for payment were made after, the Ghana Football Association said in a statement on its website.
The players will be paid today and government will be reimbursed by money awarded to Ghana by FIFA, soccer’s governing body, the association said.
The team, which includes Sulley Muntari of AC Milan and Kevin-Prince Boateng of FC Schalke, has played two matches so far in the tournament, losing 2-1 to the U.S. and drawing 2-2 with Germany. They play their final first round match against Portugal tomorrow and need to win to have any chance of progressing. The Black Stars were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Uruguay in 2010’s tournament in South Africa.
“President Mahama waded into the matter after agitation from the Black Stars players,” the association said. “President Mahama personally spoke to the players to assure them the money will be paid by Wednesday afternoon.”

Fixing Investigation

The Ghanaian team has been dealing with issues off the field all week, as the football association asked police to investigate claims reported by the London-based Daily Telegraph that the association’s president had agreed to fix future international exhibition matches. The GFA has denied the report and says that the two men mentioned in the story never made offers to bribe them or association President Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Back at home, Mahama has taken steps to ensure that the broadcast of Black Stars games isn’t disrupted by regular blackouts.

 The government has asked its aluminum smelter to cut power usage during the World Cup and will buy additional electricity from neighbor Ivory Coast to ensure that Black Stars games can be shown live.
Daily electricity blackouts, fuel shortages and a plunging currency are slowing economic growth in West Africa’s second-largest economy, the International Monetary Fund said last month. Ghana is struggling is struggling to boost revenue to narrow its budget gap, which will probably exceed 10 percent of gross domestic product for a third year, according to Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.
Moody’s and Fitch both have Ghana on negative credit watch, meaning a cut in the rating is possible. Nigeria is the largest economy in the region. 


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