Akyem Oda-based Kotoku Royals FC has moved to the top of Ghana’s Division One League zone three table after being declared winners of a protest against Heart of Lions.
Heart of Lions has suffered a points deduction for fielding an unqualified player against Kotoku Royals in a Division One League fixture in March.
The Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association has ruled that Abdul Mohammed Musah was unqualified to play for Heart of Lions against the Oda-based side during a second-tier match on March 20.
The judicial body has awarded the maximum points and three goals to Kotoku Royals FC in a dramatic turn of events in the battle for Ghana Premier League qualification.
Following the Disciplinary Committee of the GFA ruling, Kotoku Royals will assume the top spot of the Division One League zone three with 56 points with chasing sides Tema Youth and Liberty Professionals pegged at 55 points each with four games to end the season.
“That the protest filed by Kotoku Royals FC shall succeed. That having been found to have forfeited the match, Heart of Lions FC shall be considered as having lost the match in accordance with Articles 33(2) and 34(12), and accordingly, three points and three (3) goals are hereby awarded in favor of Kotoku Royals FC, part of the ruling read
“That in addition, being the defaulting club, Heart of Lions FC shall lose three (3) points from the club’s accumulated points from their previous matches pursuant to Article 33(5)(a) of the Division One League Regulations.
“That in addition, being the defaulting club, Heart of Lions FC is hereby fined Two Thousand and Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GH¢2,500.00) payable to the GFA, 50% of which shall be paid to Kotoku Royals FC pursuant to Article 33(5)(b) of the Division One League Regulations.
“That the fines mentioned above, shall be paid to the GFA within fourteen (14) days upon receipt of this Ruling, failing which Heart of Lions FC shall forfeit their subsequent matches after the said deadline.
“That should any party be dissatisfied with or aggrieved by this Decision, the party has within one (1) day of being notified of this Ruling to appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association.”
Royals petitioned the Ghana FA against the Kpando-based side for fielding an unqualified player during their league match back in March.
In their defense, Heart of Lions FC admitted that the player was suspended for the said match and the Club was duly noted that he was unavailable for the match.
According to the Respondent, unintentionally without malice, the player’s name was inadvertently selected the player’s name in the team sheet and could not correct it due to internet challenges before the match kickoff.
Heart of Lions FC stated that attempts to effect changes to the team sheet before kickoff also proved futile and thus pleaded for leniency.
By the Club’s own admission, Hearts of Lions FC admitted to having named the said player who was unqualified to play in the match in the squad list unintentionally.