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23.08.2002 Sports News

NSC boss blames GAA for Funds Freeze

By Graphic Sports
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THE Acting Chief Executive of the National Sports Council (NSC), Dr Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, has attributed the IAAF's decision to freeze the development grant for Ghana to poor administrative work and inefficiency. He explained that perhaps officials of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) failed to submit the expenditure returns for the past year, or the returns were not satisfactory.

Speaking to Graphic Sports last Wednesday, Dr Owusu Ansah said even though he has not been officially served with notice on the matter, he had no reason to doubt the story which has been widely published on the internet and in the press.

Dr Owusu Ansah indicated that although he is aware of whatever goes on at the Sports Council ,it is not his responsibility to interfere with the activities of the GAA. He said there is the need to take immediate steps to arrest the situation.

He, however, debunked the allegation of corruption made by Andrew Owusu, the newly-appointed member of the African Athletics Commission, against the GAA. He stressed that the problem between the IAAF and GAA is not over any alleged embezzlement. "I think we failed to do our homework well".

He disclosed that, a chunk of the grant was used to furnish the GAA's office at the National Sports Council, as well as purchase a computer and its accessories and other equipment to enhance their efficiency and get hooked to the internet. He said his doors are open to auditors or any committee that may be interested in investigating the matter.

Reacting to the performance of athletes in Manchester and Tunisia, the NSC Chief Executive said the country's contingent performed poorly partly due to inadequate infrastructure at home. He explained that the country lacks proper tracks and training equipment.

He hinted that a German company is expected in the country in September to do feasibility studies at the Accra Stadium for a face-lift project to begin.

On his part, the former Vice President of the African Athletics Confederation, Mr Samuel Nelson, buttressed the point on inadequate facilities by saying that the tartan tracks in Accra and Kumasi have been in a deplorable state for far too long and no top class athlete can effectively train on them.

He lamented that since the construction of the tracks in 1978, they have never been rehabilitated and asked how Ghanaian athletes could be expected to compete favourably with countries with better facilities.

He stressed the need to refurbish the tracks to ensure that top class athletes are produced in the country.

Mr Nelson revealed that a one-year programme was drawn up by the GAA but they could not execute it due to lack of funds.

He therefore made a passionate appeal to the government to treat the needs of sports as a matter of urgency so that Ghana Sports can reclaim its past glory.

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