Hearts of Oak have expressed their dissatisfaction at the manner it has been portrayed in the Anas Aremeyaw Anas documentary on the corruption of football in Ghana.
Their stance is in response to the numerous mentions and links in the piece which was aired on Wednesday at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Premier League matches involving Hearts of Oak featured prominently in the investigative work as undercover reporters often wanted to influence the results of the team’s matches by allegedly bribing referees.
The piece was to prove that bribery, match-fixing and match manipulation were a reality in the local game.
However, in a statement released on Thursday and signed by the CEO, Mark Noonan, said that despite its support for truth and fairness in football, it was bothered that it was the main part of the modus operandi of the Tiger Eye undercover reporters.
Below is the statement:
Like many Ghanaians, we watched with interest the investigative documentary, # Number12 , by Anas Aremeyaw Anas and offer the FF comments:
1. We believe that anything legal and ethical that uncovers the truth, creates transparency and holds people accountable is good for football in Ghana and holds people accountable is good for football in Ghana. We ALL need to hold ourselves to the highest standards, on and off the pitch, if we wish to realize the vast potential of the sport here.
2. While we were pleased and not surprised that no official of our club was implicated in the report, we are deeply disturbed that Accra Hearts of Oak SC was used by actors planted by the production company to serve their purpose. This unauthorized use of imposter posing as Club officials is not something we would ever condone, and we strongly condemn it.
3. As a Club, we have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any sort of bribery or match manipulation. This policy is covered in our Club’s Code of Ethics, in employment agreements and contracts signed by our coaches and players. Anyone violating this policy will be immediately terminated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
4. We also strongly believe in due process and hope that those that have been accused have the opportunity to defend themselves without prejudice. That said, we also call upon those who know they have done wrong to look in the mirror and do the right thing and do the right thing by immediately resigning from their positions.
5. Finally, we call on all those who truly care about football in Ghana to use this moment to bond together and create a better future for the game in this country. There are so many honest, hard-working, and dedicated servants of Ghana football who don’t deserve to be painted by this dirty brush. We look forward to joining them and doing our part to restore confidence and joy in the beautiful game here.
Hearts of Oak’s 1-0 win over Asante Kotoko in Accra in 2017 was one of the matches captured in the tape as having being tainted.
Centreman, Referee Samuel Sukah, his two assistants and the match commissioner were seen on tape allegedly taking money from the undercover reporters to get a victory for Hearts of Oak.
The match was won by the Phobians thanks to a Vincent Atinga goal after an 82nd-minute penalty awarded by Sukah.
There was controversy over whether the ball hit the back or arm of Kotoko defender, Ahmed Adams.