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Other Sports of Friday, 22 February 2008

Source: GNA

Patrons of horse racing appeal for survival of sport

Accra, Feb 22, GNA - Members of the Accra Turf Club Horse Owners, Jockeys, Grooms and lovers of horse racing have made a passionate appeal to the President, John Agyekum Kufuor, who is the Life Patron of the Accra Turf Club to help save the course and the sport from imminent collapse from its wrongful relocation.

The members also called for the immediate removal of the Chairman, Nana Danso Agyemang and the Secretary, Mr. J.B Badger to save the sport from its demise.

The duo, whose tenure of stewardship have since expired are said to be the reason behind the dwindling fortunes of the once highly patronized sport in the country.

Abdul Jabbar, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the group at a press briefing on Friday to lodge a protest against the relocation of the race course in Accra, said the two officials have done very little towards uplifting the image of horse-racing in the country for some time now.

He said the two officials have overstayed their tenure which ended five years ago without recourse to the Club's constitution.

"Rule 19(a) of the constitution refers to the expiration of tenure every March and fresh elections to be held. It further states an annual audited report of the Board of Steward for the period ending January 31", which was quoted by Jabbar to indicate that this has not seen the light of day for the past decades.

Mr Jabbar added that the secretary, Mr Badger has arrogated to himself unconstitutional powers, which has seen him serving in almost all the sub-committees of the Club.

"It is unimaginable that one person will arrogate himself powers of sitting on various committees such as Board of Steward, Track, Race Meeting Stewards, Handicapping, Project and Finance, Sponsorships, Tote, Gate and Protocol", with Badger also acting as the Treasurer, Secretary and Auditor of the Club.

Mr Jabber reiterated that the two officials have displayed that they are not competent to handle affairs of the Club and advised them to step down for the injection of new blood to take the 'honourable' sport of kings to the promise land.

On the relocation of the race course to the Animal Boundary at the outskirts of the University of Ghana farms, off the Ashaley-Botwe road, Mr Jabbar alleged that it was the club secretary who facilitated their premature ejection when members quizzed him on the erratic manner he was running the sport.

"He quickly pasted a notice ordering all to leave the race course before February 29 with a claim that he was acting on instructions from the Chief of Staff, and substantiated it with a letter signed by Dan Agyemang, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff." Mr Jabber said the supposed letter is in contrast to an earlier promise by President John Agyekum Kuffour during the President' Cup in 2002 where he assured that "a state of the art race course will be built to replace the current course." Mark Anthony Mansour, a horse owner described the new location as lifeless without electricity, no inhabitants, no neighbours and medical facility.

He emphasized that the perennial water shortage in Madina and its environs makes the new location insatiable for the sport. "An average horse lives on a minimum of 40 litres of water per day and taking the animals there will amount to a deliberate attempt to sentence them to death." Mansour insists that there are not moving to the proposed site till it is provided with structures and facilities suitable for the sport. Meanwhile, the race course situated around the ministries has been scheduled for a proposed Kempinski Hotel, to be funded by the Africa Development Bank at an estimated 16.8 million dollars. 22 Feb. 08