Accra, April 7, GNA - The issue of governmental support for Premier League clubs was one of the major topics that took a centre stage at the congress of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) on Thursday. The clubs for the past years had argued that the nation did not give them financial support, not even those that participate in continental competitions, though they were the main source of players for the various national teams.
The Ministry of Education and Sports also insisted that the government would be ready to provide support to the clubs on conditions that they furnished the ministry with proper audited accounts. However, information revealed at the congress indicates that only three clubs, Real Tamale United (RTU), Team Real Sportive and Gomoah Feteh Feyenoord Academy had submitted their audited accounts, as at the close of the 2004 season, hence the rest did not qualify for any governmental support.
RTU is on record to be the only club to have submitted regular audited accounts to the GFA since 1993.
The hard stance taken by the Ministry had for the past years denied the clubs any help from the government, whilst those who had obeyed the rules had also not enjoyed any support from the government, fuelling the debate.
The issue, which dominated discussions on day one of the congress was raised again on the second day by Major Yaw Larson, Chief Executive of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, who questioned why the Ministry should demand audited accounts from the clubs since it had not given out any money to the clubs.
Major Larson argued that the clubs had for the past years financed themselves "so what is government demanding".
He said the government had a responsibility to support the clubs financially quoting from Supreme Military Council (SMC) decree 54 to support his claims.
Mr Jones Abu Alhassan a director of RTU, Mr Kofi Manu of Berekum Arsenal and Randy Abbey of Hearts of Oak supported the argument put forward by Major Larson.
Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, captured the issue in his speech even though he came after the debate and reiterated the government's stands on its insistence on the submission of audited accounts by the clubs to merit any support.
"Without the proper audited accounts it would be difficult for the Ministry to make any meaningful case for the clubs at the cabinet level".
He said clubs have to justify their needs as a any of attracting government's support.
Mr Amoah said the government would use the taxpayer's money to finance the activities of the clubs and would be held accountable for any expenditure made hence the need for the proper documentation of accounts.