Sports Minister wants to privatise Black Stars, franchise to be sold

Soccer News of Tuesday, 11 October 2016



Nii Lantey Vanderpuye Is Ghana's Sports MinisterGhana’s sports minister Nii Lantey Vanderpuye

Ghana’s sports minister Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has revealed a bizarre plan of selling off the senior national football team, the Black Stars, to companies who are interested in buying it for profit – a plan likely to be challenged by the GFA.

In a move to show that the tensions between the ministry and the Ghana FA will escalate, Vanderpuye says he will not seek the consent of the federation to carry out the plan.

The controversial government appointee says the GFA has no power to stop his plan as he is already far advanced with negotiations.

Vanderpuye revealed this plan just 24 hours after his similar divisive outbursts were blamed for the country’s rocky start to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Even before the dust settles on why the Black Stars failed to defeat Uganda in their opening qualifier on Friday, Vanderpuye says his plan is meant to the ease the team’s funding problem on government.

Government pays for the Black Stars in official matches while sponsorship from GNPC takes care of friendlies, the salaries of the coaching staff of the Black Stars as well as other auxiliary expenses.

Vanderpuye’s reign as the sports minister has been characterized by tensions between the ministry the Ghana FA with the latter claiming that there are no funds to run the national teams.

Vanderpuye says arrangements to fund the national team from private individuals or companies are far advanced to ease the pressure on funding from the national consolidated fund.

“We are having discussions with the Ministry of Finance on finding other sources of funding sports apart from the national kitty,” Vanderpuye told the GNA.

“One of the areas we are looking forward to is the franchising of Black Stars matches, so that whoever gives us that amount of money, which can take care of the budget of the team, then the person will have the right.

“We are still negotiating…we can give to the sponsor the number of matches the team would play and how much it will cost…if the sponsor is ready to give that amount of money, then fine.

“Then we will give the Black Stars to the sponsor to take care of advertising, broadcasting and everything. Whatever the sponsor gets out of it is theirs, “he added.

According to Nii Lantey, it will be on contractual basis for a period and the number of matches for the period would be given to interested sponsors and the budget.

The Minister said the GFA does not need to give its consent before the franchising could take effect.

“The FA doesn’t fund national teams, the Ministry and Government does…so whatever means and sources are used to get the appropriate funding for the team, the GFA does not have the power to say no.”

The plan will fall flat on its face as television and marketing rights for official matches of the Black Stars belong to CAF or FIFA depending on the competition being played.

The potential buyer of the matches has got no affiliation with FIFA or CAF to be able to carry out its plan to make profits from such ventures.

Former ministers have sought the support of companies to sponsor the activities of sports in country as well as other business ventures likes sports betting to ensure enough funding.

Ghana’s constitution like many other countries says government must fund activities of national team without expecting profits – which also goes contrary to the plan to be carried out by the ministry.

When the Minister was asked whether the action will not deepen the friction between the FA and the Ministry, he answered in the negative.

Issues concerning bonuses for the Black Stars has been a problem since Vnderpuye took over any time there is a national assignment, which has marred the performances of the Black Stars.

With the World Cup qualifiers underway, such moves by the minister will further wane focus and support for the Black Stars who must win their subsequent matches to stand a chance of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Ghana will face Egypt next month in their second Group E match after they were held to goalless draw by Uganda in Tamale.