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25.11.2008 Business & Finance

GLO, MTN In Hot Race

Two foreign telecommunication giants, MTN and Globacom (Glo), are neck and neck in a fierce battle to become the new sponsors of the domestic Premier League after known sponsors, Onetouch, lost grip of the headline sponsorship title last week.

MTN and Glo jumped in swiftly in a frantic bid to outdo each other and gain appreciable grounds in the competitive local market after Ghana Telecom, who were sponsoring the premiership with their Onetouch brand, was stripped of the right as sponsors following their failure to meet a Ghana Football Association (GFA) ultimatum.

The two new companies have made some irresistible offers which far outweigh Onetouch's supposed GH¢2.5 million (¢25 billion) sponsorship deal for this season's league.

As at press time yesterday, the GFA was locked up in a high level meeting with the representatives of MTN and Glo over who will finally secure the right as the new headline sponsors of the Premier League.

PLB chairman, Welbeck Abra-Appiah, who told the Graphic Sports that discussions between the two parties had reached an advanced stage, promised that a new sponsor would be secured before the second week matches come alive next week Wednesday.

Unlike MTN who have been operating in the country for sometime now, Glo are yet to start operating in the country as a communication company, though they have already been issued with a licence to do so.

In spite of that Glo announced their presence in Ghana soccer big time when they recently emerged as last minute title sponsors of the 2008 GHALCA Top 4.

After agreeing to raise their sponsorship tote from GH¢1.7 million (¢17 billion) to GH¢2.5 (¢25 billion) a few weeks ago, Onetouch were expected to advance 40 per cent of the total sum to the Premier League Board (PLB) via the GFA by November 19, four days to the start of the 2008/09 league season. But they failed to do so without any explanation.

Mr Abra-Appiah hinted the Graphic Sports last Friday that Onetouch had failed to meet the November 19 deadline despite a formal reminder on November 6.

He also disclosed that the FA declined an appeal by Onetouch to go ahead and launch the league on November 18 in the absence of the requested financial commitment.

He said under the circumstance, the FA had no option but to accordingly notify the sponsors in writing about the abrogation of the three-year contract which was supposed to end at the end of the new season.

Describing Ghana Telecom's behaviour as unfortunate, the PLB boss emphasised that the FA was yet to hear from the former sponsors since notifying them about the abrogation of the contract last week. In view of that the league took off last weekend sponsorless and nameless.

It will be recalled that Onetouch announced their presence in the league on a sensational note last season with a ground-breaking ¢17 billion, then as title sponsors.

Story by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo