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18.01.2006 Football News

Hearts launch 'Operation Feed the Oak Tree'


Accra, Jan 18, GNA - Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club have launched an ambitious five billion cedi fund raising project dubbed "Operation Feed the Oak Tree" to rake in the needed funds towards the smooth running of the Club.

The Club is currently in debt to the tune of about seven billion cedis.

The drive, which is targeted at the middle class supporters of the team, would take the form of the supporters purchasing cards in four categories that would give them access to some privileges. Launching the program, Mr Commodore Mensah, Board Chairman of the Club, announced that contributors have been grouped in the four categories namely Platinum, Gold, Silver and Ordinary and depending on how much each contributor made from one million cedis, 500,000 cedis, 200,000 cedis and 100,000, the cards would be given in that order. He said the scheme, which runs till the end of March this year, will require supporters to pick forms from the Club's secretariat, at branches of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) or cut out forms from adverts in the national newspapers.

The Board Chairman said contributors are expected to post a copy of their pay in slip and forms to the Club's secretariat for the necessary documentation.

"Looking at the projections for the scheme, we have conservatively pegged our hopes on raking in 2.5 billion, however, if we manage this scheme properly with your support it should be possible for us to make five billion cedis".

"We shall make periodic publications of contributions in the newspapers and also send certificates of recognition to the Platinum and Gold card holders"

Mr Mensah said the scheme presents a great chance for supporters of the Club to give practical meaning to their commitment to the club "as it presents this singular opportunity for us to nourish the Oak Tree for it to bear the desired fruits."

He said the club has come to this position because of the huge expenditure needed to run it.

"For instance, the Club needs about 100 million cedis every month to take care of the monthly salaries of the players, the technical bench and administrative staff.

"This is in addition to the extra cash needed for other undertakings like recruitment of suitable quality players to rejuvenate the team.

He added that, "The success of this recruitment exercise will depend on how much money was invested considering the fact that the least expensive player on the transfer market today is about 200,000 million cedis."

Mr Mensah said that apart from the financial benefits that the Club hopes to derive from the scheme, "we hope to use the information provided on the forms to compile a bio-data base of our supporters." The Board Chairman on behalf of the Board members assured contributors and the general public that the Club would fully account for every cedi generated by the scheme. The first contributor to the scheme was GCB who gave 10 million cedis as the seed money for the project and promised to give more subsequently.

Mr Kwane Budu who represented GCB at the ceremony, promised to put the facilities of the Bank's oversees partners at the disposal of the Club to enable Hearts supporters outside the country to also contribute their quota.

The Chairman of the occasion, Mr Steve Mawuyenga, who is also a Director/member of the Club, said the scheme should be seen as one of the ventures promoting the government's drive to make the private sector the engine of growth.