SWAG urges caution over Ministry-IOC standoff

Akua Dansua - Minister of Sports

The Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) has called for caution in government’s dealings over the impasse of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) with the International Olympic Committee (OIC).

A statement signed by SWAG President, Ackah Anthony in Accra noted with concern the difficult road the country has had to travel in the search for a new blueprint for the country’s sports development, and the challenges that have emerged as a result of the continued use of the existing Sports Decree, SMCD 54.

“The recent standoff between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the GOC on one hand and the one between the Ministry and the IOC have reached worrying dimensions. These are clearly dangerous signals for Ghana sports.”

The statement said the Sports Minister, Ms Akua Sena Dansua’s attempt to assert Ghana’s sovereignty by calling IOC’s “bluff” at the launch of the National Sports Council’s re-branding is a situation that may only lead to the detriment of Ghana Sports, if the IOC also flexes its muscles and considers the ultimate sanction of expelling Ghana from the 2012 Olympics in London until the country cleans up its act.

“The unfortunate events that reportedly unfolded among some Ghanaian officials at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the dismal performance of the Team Ghana bear ample testimony to the dangerous path taken by our sports authorities with respect of their failure to heed the roadmap given by the IOC when it met last year with the feuding GOC factions and the government during the fact finding mission to Ghana.

“It is even more worrying that the new Sports Bill has been put on the backburner for all these years despite assurances by different Sports Ministers that the Bill was before Cabinet en route to Parliament.”

The statement said checks by SWAG has revealed that the new Sports Bill has not been tabled before Parliament for consideration before the House rises next month, an indication that it is unlikely to be passed into law this year as promised by the Minister at the last Meet the Press event, a condition stated by the IOC for conducting a fresh GOC elections.

“It appears the IOC’s recent demands have stirred the hornet’s nest and got the government to its latest act of daring the IOC, rather than using diplomacy in such situations.”

It said SWAG recalls a similar state of affairs with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) a few years ago, but after initial power play, sober thinking reigned eventually and the feuding factions and government used diplomacy effectively with FIFA’s mediation, resulting in a new blueprint for Ghana Football.

“The recent successes chalked by the country at international events could be attributed to the stability within the GFA and the modern administrative structures adopted under the new blueprint.”

It is the considered view of SWAG that the President, Professor John E. A. Mills, himself an astute sports administrator, will call all the factions together with the aim of putting the country’s interest ahead of individual interests and bruised egos. It will not be out of place for the government to seek audience with the IOC to express its disagreement(s) with aspects of the roadmap and to chart a new path towards a final resolution of this protracted impasse.

“As the stalemate continues, with the Sports Bill still awaiting final approval by Cabinet, Ghana’s sportsmen and women face an uncertain future as the clock ticks towards next year’s All Africa Games and the London 2012 Olympics.

“The country is in a race against time, and it is imperative that we act now to head off a looming disaster in the interest of Ghana sports.”

Source: GNA

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