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21.04.2008 Sports News

SWAG unhappy with NSC/MOESS rift

By GNA


The Sportswriters Association of Ghana (SWAG) has expressed its concern and worry over the emerging rift between the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports.

The Association has also expressed its concern about the proposed delayed elections for the Ghana Football Association.

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

The SWAG said in a statement that “Such a tension was regrettably developing into a power play, with its 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 Council have a huge responsibility and should be preoccupied with co-operating and engaging other key stakeholders towards executing their constitutional mandate".

It said "What started as a rumour of an alleged cold war between the Chief Executive of the National Sports Council, Prince Ernest Oduro-Mensah, and Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, a deputy minister at MoESS, appears to be gaining weight.

The statement said this was particularly apparent 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 statement said 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 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 therefore expects both the Ministry and the Sports Council 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 and revival of school sports among others.

"As key players in Ghana sports who wield a lot of power in the corridors of power, the SWAG is appealing 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 said it 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.

"It is the opinion of SWAG that 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 onto power in the name of ensuring that 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.

The statement said “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 said it notes with interest that three years ago those at the helm had 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.

The statement said "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 an early election to account for their term of stewardship, including making public a detailed account for the 2006 World Cup income and expenditure before entrusting another World Cup campaign to their care."

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