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17.06.2005 Sports News

IAAF insists on reforms at Ghana Athletics Association


Accra, June 17, GNA - Mr Lamine Diack, President of the International Amateur Athletics Association (IAAF) on Friday confirmed the GNA Sports Desk Story that called for reforms in the structure of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA). The directive was to reduce the influence of government in the selection of officials to run the association.

Mr Diack currently in Accra to attend the 11th General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa (ANOCA) told the officials duly elected and not imposed. The GNA last week broke the story that the IAAF had directed the GAA to streamline its structure to conform with that of the international body which abhors any form of governmental influence in selecting officials to run the associations.

The story created a furore as officials of the National Sports Council challenged the authenticity of the IAAF directive claiming that there has not been such directive to them. "We have already told the Association what we expect of them and they have to do that or we refer to our books for the appropriate sanctions."

The IAAF in its directive ordered the GAA to organise a Congress to elect its executive body to run the association instead of the established order where the NSC appoints personnel to run its affairs. The Senegalese said the GAA risk facing sanctions, which includes the withholding of their annual grants and suspension from the Association. "We have rules and regulations and expect members to abide by them. Who so ever fails to respect them is out, but I don't expect Ghana to follow that path," he said.

The IAAF first gave the directives last week when Mr Leonard Chuene, IAAF Representative for Africa met with the GAA to discuss the circumstances leading to the suspension of the annual 15,000 dollars grant to Ghana.

In a separate interview, Alhaji Dodru Joof, Treasurer of Africa Athletics Committee and the IAAF Secretary General for West Africa also confirmed the IAAF directive and added that Mr Chuene and another representative of the IAAF will soon be in Ghana to assess the situation to ensure that the right structures are put in place. The IAAF is believed to have given the directive after a letter allegedly written by Mr George Lutterodt, the former Chairman of the GAA claimed his wrongful removal from office. Alhaji Joof said the only bodies mandated by the IAAF to elect executives to run the association are athletic clubs. He said in the absence of recognised athletics associations the Regional association and the Services could elect its own members to run their affairs.

Alhaji Joof said Ghana is not the first country to go through this ordeal as fellow West African countries, Sierra Leone and Liberia have faced similar ordeals before. The NSC in May reconstituted the Management Board of the various associations and replaced Mr. Lutterodt with former Olympian, Sandy Osei Agyemang.