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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Mills Dodges Ghana Olympic Committee Question

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President John Evans Atta Mills yesterday demonstrated his lack of concern for the confusion in the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), when he dodged questions on it during the 2011 Editors’ Forum with the President, at the Castle, Osu.
In an apparent effort to duck the question when asked whether he was aware that the GOC had two bosses, in the persons of B.T. Baba and the NDC-imposed Francis Dodoo, President Mills strayed into politics and finally landed with the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
“Let’s credit each other with good faith,” he intimated, urging Ghanaians to avoid politics of insult. According to the President, what one should ask himself “in a period of reflection is what have I been able to achieve?”
He flaunted his credentials as a former sportsman and administrator, disclosing that he was one-time boss of the National Sports Council. President Mills however admitted that it was wrong for his government to try imposing former Black Stars skipper Abedi Ayew Pele on the GFA, with regard to the vacant CAF Executive Committee position.
On why he had had four Sports Ministers in a space of two years, he noted that each person was sent to the ministry to carry out a particular programme, and as soon as the minister executed the programme, he was replaced. He likened the situation to penalty-taking in a football match.
The stalemate at the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) is a source of worry to many sports-loving Ghanaians, especially against the background of a looming International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban.
Readers would recall that President Atta Mills’ National Democratic Congress (NDC), when it took over the reins of government, tried to use unconstitutional means to replace the GOC boss, B.T. Baba, with Prof Francis Dodoo. This was however fiercely resisted by Mr Baba and other members of the GOC, resulting in a stalemate.
The situation compelled both the IOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) to send a high-powered delegation to the country to investigate the matter, following which a correspondence was fired by the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, to then Minister of Youth and Sports Rashid Pelpuo, with a covering letter to President John Evans Atta Mills, indicating that the world body was very much concerned about the current conflict within the Olympic Movement in Ghana.
The IOC did not mince words in indicating that it frowned upon government interference in sports and the consequences thereof.
This however did not discourage the Mills government from diversifying its interference in sports, delving thereafter into the affairs of the Ghana Football Association.
Evidently, the urge to interfere into sports was so irresistible to the government that when President Mills was invited to the FIFA headquarters to discuss the sports-governing body’s intended project in the Central Region, the president sought permission from the FIFA boss, Sepp Blatter, to set up a Public Interest Committee (PIC) to investigate the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
This was followed by the storming of the GFA offices by officials of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), who vandalized the place, taking away computers and mobile phones of GFA officials.

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