10.08.2004 Sports News

GOC Petitions Spanish Embassy

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The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) has sent a petition to the Spanish Embassy in Accra protesting the latter's reduction of the number of Ghanaian supporters wishing to go to Athens from 500 to 200.

The GOC expressed its appreciation to the Embassy for issuing visas to the Ghanaian supporters but stated that the approved number was too small since the initial number of 500 had sacrificed a lot to ensure their eligibility for the trip and therefore appealed for more visas.

The petition signed by B.T. Baba, President of the GOC,said the supporters, considered as one entity under the sponsorship of the Ghana Supporters Union (GSU) and the GOC, had earlier on held discussions with the appropriate officials of the Spanish Embassy in accordance with the rules and regulations of visits to the Schengen States and sent a copy of the list of eligible supporters to them upon a mutual agreement in order to save them the trouble of flooding their offices with passports on individual basis.

The Petition stated emphatically that the GOC and the Embassy agreed that an advance party would go to Athens to secure accommodation, tickets for the Games, chartered flights to and from Athens, funds for upkeep, travel insurance and other ground services for the supporters.

Further more, a Vetting Commitee was to be set up to scrutinize the applications of eligible people and a report subsequently sent to the Embassy, and this resulted in the reduction of over 5000 vetted applicants to 946 in order to assist the embassy offload any burden it may face.

However,the petition stated,the fact that the Spanish Embassy consulted the various European Union (EU) Ambassadors in Ghana concerning their visa applications instead of contacting the Greek government in Athens, which solely bid as an individual country for the Olympic Games without involving any EU country, was a surprise to the GOC and was tantamount to a breach of the Olympic Charter which called for mutual understanding and no discrimination of any kind.

It said that the Ghanaian footballers, who had been well prepared at the expense of the country's economy, were determined to honour their country, provided they got the needed support.

Moreover, there were high expectations of the purchasing of tickets for Ghanaian matches by the country's fans as is the case of all participating nations.The GCO, therefore, appealed to the embassy to reconsider its decision and act in the favour of the GOC and the GSU.

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