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15.05.2007 Football News

Top 4 To Go Minus Ashgold

Top 4 To Go Minus Ashgold

Frayed tempers are expected to characterise tomorrow's Ghalca meeting of the Top Four representatives to define the state of the May 27-June 24 tournament.

Ashantigold, who are in a tussle with the organisers over the terms of participation and Hearts of Oak, still uncertain about participation, could pose difficulties for the conveners of tomorrow's meeting.

Already, Graphic Sports has learnt ahead of the meeting that Ashantigold are set to deal a sledge hammer blow to the competition with an announcement of a pull-out.

Indeed, the management of the miners is still battling with their bench for the latter to change their programme to accommodate the Top 4 competition.

Confirming this to the Graphic Sports yesterday, Mr Kudjoe Fianoo revealed that their coach, Mr David Duncan, had long completed his off-season programme and accordingly declared a six-week mandatory rest period.

He disclosed further that the coach would resume full pre-season programme next month, insisting that the Top 4 would interrupt his programmes.

Ashgold have been battling the Ghalca over the association's decision to declare the Robert Mensah Sports Stadium at Cape Coast and the Sunyani Coronation Park as the home venues for the competition.

Besides, they have expressed discomfort about the refusal of the organisers to make a full disclosure of the financial details of the about ¢1.4 billion sponsorship package.

Meanwhile, Fianoo says he is surprised that representatives of the sponsors, Global Media Alliance, have denied claims by Ghalca officials that they were opposed to the use of the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium as a venue.

Whilst the Ashgold-Ghalca fracas still rages on, Hearts Board Chairman, Mr E.M. Commodore-Mensah, says that his outfit is yet to make a firm decision.

“We are still awaiting the financial details which they say would be unveiled tomorrow. If we accept it fine, but if it is something that would lead us to more financial problems, then I'm afraid Hearts would not be ready for such a deal,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Mr J.Y. Appiah, Chairman of Ghalca, has told the Graphic Sports that details of prize money, as well as relevant rules and regulations regarding the tournament, would be outlined at the meeting.

“We will spell out all details and discuss all related concerns with participating clubs with the sole aim of making this year's tournament outstanding,” the Ghalca boss said.

But the Ghalca officials enter the meeting with no delusions about Ashantigold's tough stand against the choice of venues and financial disbursements for the tournament, which will also feature league champions and the tournament's defending champions, Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko and Heart of Lions.

Indeed, long before this stage of negotiations, Ashantigold were alleged to have asked Arsenal (who placed fifth in the league) to be on stand-by to replace them since Ashantigold did not find conditions surrounding the tournament to be in their interest.

The Top 4, started in 2002, is reserved for the first four teams in the league.

Story: Andy Quao & Michael Quaye