Sports News of Thursday, 5 March 2015
Source: footy-ghana.com/Christopher Opoku
The more I think of what is going on, the more I am puzzled at some of the comments that have emanated from Youth and Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga.
For starters, in the State of the Nation Address, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama spoke of government’s intention to focus more of other least financed sports.
Ayariga has since then granted an interview in which he tried to profer reasons as to why other sporting disciplines have been neglected.
According to him, sporting associations do not submit their budgets on time; some associations do not reveal whether they have sponsors or not and he went on to say that some of the associations are involved in shady visa deals.
Without fear or favour, I am going to call for President Mahama to sack Ayariga immediately or at best, Ayariga should resign and I will explain why I am taking such a tough stance.
For starters, contrary to Ayariga’s assertions, I am aware that associations submit their budgets ahead of time.
I am sure that Ayariga does not even know that none of the sporting associations received any money after presenting budgets in the year 2013.
Ayariga is accusing the associations of not establishing relationships with the National Sports Authority or the Ministry for Youth and Sports, but that is not entirely true.
Some of the associations make repeated contact with the NSA and MOYS but nothing comes out of it. Have we so soon forgotten that the Unity Games could not come on in 2013?
Take the Ghana Beach Soccer Association. The GBSA presented its budget for the impending tournament in South Africa before the 2015 African Nations Cup and was commended for being the second association, after the Ghana Hockey Association to present its budget with adequate lead time.
So what is Ayariga talking about, with respect to not submitting budgets on time?
As we speak, the tournament begins on Friday and the GBSA presented a budget of $52,000. So fay, the MOYS has approved a sum of $21,632 to be given to the association, but approval and disbursement of funds are two entirely different things.
So as it is, the GBSA is in a big fix.
I am reliably informed that Ayariga is questioning what the GBSA has done in Ghana to even merit a budget.
The GBSA was inaugurated in 2007 and with sole sponsorship from CAL Bank, has organized two-tier league competitions over the last five years and also put together a national team that has represented the country in tournaments.
So is Ayariga that badly informed?
Besides, is it not simple for Ayariga to make such enquiries when the sporting associations put in requests for financial aid, as per whether there are sponsors on board?
All he has to do is not only to ask, but put investigative measures in place to establish the facts, instead of just coming out to accuse the associations without any level of substantiation.
I will not say that the Ministry of Youth and Sports should wholly fund all the associations’ various activities and indeed, it is not even realistic to do that, given the limited resources available, but making statements like this paint the associations in a bad light.
In short, he has publicly accused them of dishonesty and that is very unfortunate.
The worst part was when he sought to infer that some of the sporting associations are indulging in visa racketeering.
That is a very serious thing that he did and it has the potential of making the various sporting disciplines fall foul of the umbrella international associations in terms of reputation.
What will the GBSA for example say if the FIFA informs them that Ghana’s Minister for Youth and Sports has accused them of visa racketeering?
Wouldn’t this negatively impact any chance the associations have of even raising sponsorship?
Indeed, the GBSA President Yaw Ampofo Ankrah says that if the Minister said that, his association would be seeking redress.
“If the Minister indeed came out to say that, then we will have no option but to seek redress because our reputation with other associations would have been tarnished. I sincerely hope it is not true.”
Sorry to burst your bubble Yaw, but Ayariga indeed made those comments.
What I expect the various sporting associations to do is to impress upon Ayariga to substantiate his comments or face lawsuits in court for defamation.
This is why he needs to be sacked and honestly, I will be very disappointed if the President fails to take action on him.
I am fully aware that political implications could mean that certain appointees would be left alone, rather than being removed or at best re-assigned, because of contributions to the ruling party, but a failure to take action now will signal weakness on the part of government.
Indeed, with the greatest of respect, can the President say that Mahama Ayariga deserves to still be at post?
Was he not close to being fired before interventions from certain power brokers saved his job?
In my candid view, Ayariga’s comments have made his position untenable and since I am aware that he will not apologise for slandering the associations, at best he should resign, or the President must sack him.
If he remains at post, it casts a certain slur on the Presidency and many might begin to feel that the Presidency is shying away from taking tough decisions.
I am aware that I will receive a lot of bashing for this, but I can only call it as I see it and in my opinion, Ayariga has lost his right to remain as Youth and Sports Minister and the Presidency needs to act now, before Ayariga brings it further embarrassment by his comments.