Soccer News of Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Source: Sammy Heywood Okine

Sports Betting is the answer to sports funding – Sports Minister

Hon. Elvis Afriyie – Ankrah has revealed that Sports Betting is the answer to the most serious problem affecting the development and promotion of sports activities in Ghana.

Speaking on Radio Gold over the weekend in reaction to the various Sports Associations trying to pass a vote of no confidence in him because his Ministry has not been able to fund them during the last sports season, he said the budget presented by the Ministry of Youth & Sports was cut from 200 million ghc to 36 million ghc by the Ministry of Finance because that is what they could afford as other sectors of the economy like education, health and agriculture make pressing demands.

He noted that it is about time that the Association Chairmen and President become proactive and seek for their own funds for development, so that the Ministry of Youth & Sports address issues of sports infrastructure, international competition travels and organization of national and international competition and events.

He adviced the Sports Association heads to market them to attract business entities like the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is doing and has earned them sponsorships for their competitions.

According to Hon Elvis Afriyie- Ankrah, Football is the passion of the nation and had been categorized as the number one sport, so in a World Cup year like 2014, he had to ensure that the Black Stars make it to the World Cup to put the nation on the world map and also enjoy from the dividends of the most popular sports event in the world.

“I absolutely have no regrets in ensuring that the Black Stars qualiyfy. I took office when Ghana was not in a comfortable position to qualify. We had to play tough matches away against Lesotho, Sudan and the crucial games against Zambia and Egypt. I would have been labled as the most useless sports Minister if Ghana had not qualify for the World Cup”

“if I am born ten times, the same commitment, I would do” he said.

He expressed that FIFA, the world body governing football had given all 24 countries that qualified $1.5 million for preparations, so the game of football would always be a priority over other disciplines, until they also bring in some money. Ghana brought home $11 million after the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

The Sports Minister said some countries like Nigeria and the United Kingdom practice Sports Lottery and Football Pools which have really supported them in promoting and developing less popular sports.

Sports Lottery is not popular in Ghana, but with the recent emergence of companies like Safaribet, SuperBet, EuroBet and MyBet.Com, there is the belief that Sports Betting can support sports disciplines to survive in Ghana.

The Sports Minister hinted that the Sports Bill is at its final stages and about to be passed after it had gone to Cabinet and Parliament.

He was optimistic that most of the problems would be solved after the Sports Bill had been passed.

He said some products like tobacco, liquor and others would be taxed and those monies could be used for sports development and promotion.

Hon. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah urged Ghanaian companies to take advantage of the World Cup season to be associated with the Black Stars, the various supporters, the sports media and release funds to support the government in participating at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.