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Francis Dodoo sues Frank Appiah for defamation

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The Chairman of the Ghana Athletics Association Professor Francis Dodoo has filed a GH¢200, 000 defamation suit against outgoing Vice President of the recently suspended Ghana Olympic Committee Frank Appiah.

Court papers were finally served on Frank Appiah last week, after weeks of not being able to locate him.

The former triple jumper’s action is in respect of an allegation by Frank Appiah that Francis Dodoo was caught using banned doping substances during his career as a triple jumper, during a radio discussion on Accra-based Radio Gold about a month ago.

Mr. Kissi Agyebeng, the solicitor for Francis Dodoo told this reporter that Frank Appiah was given ample opportunity to retract the statement by the programme host, but he instead persisted with his claims.

Mr. Agyebeng says his client’s image has been tarnished and he would therefore seek compensation.

Frank Appiah made the claims on Accra-based Radio Gold at the end of last year. Francis Dodoo subsequently called in to the program and denied claims that he had never used drugs, evaded testing, nor tested positive.

Prof Dodoo urged the program host to ask Frank Appiah to retract the statement. Despite being asked by the host of the programme host to apologize or at least retract his accusation, Frank Appiah remained adamant that Francis Dodoo should rather prove he never tested positive for banned substances.

Tension between the old Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) led by B. T. Baba and the Prof. Francis Dodoo led group has been high for some time following disputed elections in June, 2009.

Until the recent suspension, B.T Baba had full backing of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) while Francis Dodoo is recognised as the legitimate President of the GOC by the laws of Ghana.

The two factions have been engaged in a power struggle which has sometimes spilled into a bitter exchange of words in the media. However, these accusations on a live radio station took the animosity to an unprecedented level.

Francis Dodoo who is a retired Ghanaian Olympian, had a distinguished career competing in the triple jump, and also played on a number of other national teams.

He won a gold medal at the 1987 All-Africa Games and a silver medal at the 1992 African Championships. He attended four Olympiads for Ghana, and was voted National Sportsman of the Year in 1987.

He was subsequently decorated with Ghana’s Grand Medal.

Prof. Dodoo is currently Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon.

By Erasmus Kwaw

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