Return the money— Sports Ministry, BoG clash over crypto company’s Black Stars Sponsorship

A sweet US$1Million deal signed between Mara, a crypto company and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to make the former an official sponsor of the Black Stars of Ghana has been embroiled in controversy after Bank of Ghana got involved.

The crypto company which is not licensed by the Bank of Ghana to operate in any form in Ghana penned a deal and with the GFA under the Sports Ministry and has already transferred the money.

Mara is expected to “drive football sustainability ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, scheduled to kick off in November” with their name and marketing materials expected to feature in all promos of the Black Stars, the deal details said.

Bank of Ghana however has placed an active ban on Crypto and cryptocurrency trading and activities of all forms leaving analysts to wonder how the Sports Ministry and the GFA settled on the company.

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A BoG source said Mara is not licensed and has no right to advertise its business in Ghana under the nose of the Central Bank, learnt.

Some sports analysts have wondered how BoG and other regulators will react if Ghanaians buy into crypto based on this partnership snd problems emerge. Will BoG say those Ghanaians did so at their own risk while BoG as a regulator looked on and did nothing?

According to the GFA President, these matters are irrelevant.

Hear Okraku Kurt, “Digital assets being digital means of exchange, have come to stay all over the world. We are delighted that the pairing of Mara and GFA with this commercial relationship has been realized, as such partnerships have become increasingly common in sports worldwide.”

“This partnership, the first of its kind, will bring to fans various opportunities offered by digital assets in our football community. The second reason for a partnership such as this is that it provides crucial revenue to the industry. The next few months will witness an explosion of Ghana Football on digital platforms,” he added.

The Bank of Ghana is yet to announce concrete steps taken on the deal.

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On its part, Mara was excited about the deal.

Chi Nnadi, co-founder and CEO at Mara said while commenting on the partnership at the GFA Headquarters in Accra.

“The passion and excitement for football has the power to offer hope and unify Africans across the continent and beyond in a truly remarkable way, regardless of background, or socio-economic status,”  the Co-Founder said.

“We are particularly excited to partner with Ghana FA as they #BringBackTheLove for Ghana’s national football team and empower people with a common hope and dream. Mara remains committed to empowering the dreams of Africans across the world and offering the creation of wealth through digital finance”.

Buttressing this, Susan Younis, Chief Marketing Officer at Mara said “We have very exciting activations and offers that will be rolled out with the upcoming World Cup tournaments. As these activities commence in the next few weeks, we look forward to creating opportunities and environments where Ghanaians can experience the essence of Mara in person.”

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