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14.04.2008 Sports News

SWAG Worried Over Sports Council-Ministry Row

The Sportswriters Association of Ghana (SWAG) has expressed worry over the emerging rift between the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MoESS), and the proposed delayed elections for the GFA.

The association said it had noted with unease, a growing tension and a thaw in the relationship between the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MoESS) and the National Sports Council (NSC).

This tension, according to the association, had regrettably developed into a power play, lack of co-operation and an unnecessary media war.

“As the two bodies mandated by law to develop and promote sports in the country, the ministry and the Sports Council have a huge responsibility and should be preoccupied with co-operating and engaging other key stakeholders towards executing their constitutional mandate,” SWAG said in a statement.

“What started as rumour of an alleged cold war between the Chief Executive of the National Sports Council, Mr Prince Oduro-Mensah, and Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, a Deputy Minister at MoESS, appears to be gaining weight, particularly following the conspicuous absence of the NSC top brass at a three-day strategic workshop organised by the ministry to fashion out the direction of Ghana sports”.

“The failure of the NSC boss to deliver an address, and his absence from the three-day deliberation, sent worrying signals which were further heightened when the Sports Council announced it was about to launch a corporate plan later in the month”.

“While SWAG appreciates the fact that there may be areas of disagreement between the ministry and the NSC, the association believes that dialogue is the best approach to resolve such differences.

“The SWAG considers the ensuing cold war as unnecessary, distractive and counter–productive to the development and growth of Ghana's sports.

“Coming just weeks after the highly successful MTN Africa Cup of Nations, it is the expectation of Ghanaians that the authorities would rather put their houses in order to consolidate the gains of Ghana 2008 and channel their energies into effectively harnessing the potential socio-economic benefits of the state's massive investment in new sporting infrastructure.

“The SWAG expects both the MoESS and the NSC to be preoccupied with pertinent issues like the effective and profitable management of the four new stadia, provision of modern sporting equipment, better funding of the various sports associations, revival of school sports, among others.

“As key players in Ghana's sports who wield a lot of power in the corridors of power, the SWAG wants to appeal to the Deputy Minister and the National Sports Council boss to use their influence to get Parliament to pass into law the much-anticipated Sports Bill (to replace the SMCD 54) which has sadly been ignored since it was drafted in 2005”.

“The SWAG also wishes to revisit the case of a proposal by the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association seeking a postponement of elections for executive positions until 2011 in view of Ghana's expected participation in both the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“In the opinion of SWAG, the arguments put forward by the GFA Executive Committee are not very sound, but rather smack of an attempt by the executive to extend their hold on power in the name of ensuring the Black Stars qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

“Even though the SWAG has no representation on the GFA Executive Committee, elections of this kind are of national interest and are rooted in the rule of law and accountability of stewardship, very significant pillars of our democracy, and should not be sacrificed on the altar of managing Ghana's World Cup qualification.

“It is not continuity by an administration that has outlived its constitutional mandate that will ensure that Ghana qualifies for South Africa 2010, but rather a carefully planned and well managed World Cup campaign with the necessary success factors put in place.

“The SWAG notes with interest that three years ago those at the helm now assumed office at a very crucial stage of Ghana's 2006 World Cup campaign when Coach Ratomir Dujkovic had just taken over the Black Stars following the departure of Coach Mariano Barreto.

“However, because there was in existence a Black Stars Management Committee to supervise the campaign, the change in administration hardly affected Ghana's World Cup debut.
 
With even more financial commitment today by government and corporate Ghana, a well-planned and managed qualifying campaign, the so-named Agenda 2010 would hardly be affected by an election during the qualifying rounds.

“In any case, if the GFA's Executive Committee believes that Ghana's qualification to South Africa is inextricably linked to their continued stay in office, then the right thing to do is to call for early election to account for their term of duty, including making public a detailed account for the 2006 World Cup income and expenditure before being entrusted with another World Cup campaign.
 

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