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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

Just do it, VOA and boss

For the umpteenth time, we are being told by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) about the huge expenditure made on the national senior soccer team, the Black Stars, to the detriment of other national disciplines and associations.

On the sidelines of the launch of the Millennium Marathon in Accra last Monday, the Deputy Minister, Mr Vincent Oppong Asamoah (VOA), reportedly was livid, blaming that development for the apparent inability of his outfit to finance other disciplines in the country (see story on back page).

“We believe every money spent by the ministry must consider other sporting federations because the country spends $1 million on every away match played by the Black Stars.

“We can’t continue like this and I think some payments need to stop. We have mismanaged the system to the extent that we are not able to take care of most of our recurrent bills,” he lamented.

But we think these lamentations over football, and the Black Stars, for that matter, drawing all the sports budget have become hackneyed, especially when it is the sector ministry that is loudest on the issue.

It can be tolerated when the complaints come from the leaders of the affected disciplines (who also do) but not when such complaints are constantly heard from the direction of the highest authority charged with the responsibility to oversee all sports in the country and thus has the power to effect any change that it so desires.

Our point is that if the MOYS thinks that it has to redirect the focus of expenditure to be more beneficial to particular disciplines other than football, or that the sector’s budget be shared equally or proportionally among the disciplines, irrespective of where the national interest lies, it has all the muscle to do that.

There is no need lamenting over it; just do it!

The other time it was the minister himself lamenting over how the budget for football at the national level alone had gone over the roof, such that other disciplines of national character were being suffocated to the marrow.

That spectre must have forced the minister to threaten a further drastic cut in the winning bonuses of the Stars and damn the consequences, World Cup qualification or not.

We think the manner in which these things are being thrown about, as though football no longer deserves pride of place in the country’s pastimes, does not augur well for all stakeholders.

It is time the MOYS stopped doing shadow boxing with the issue of the paltry budget allocation to it to finance sports development and promotion in the country.

Certainly, it is the responsibility of the ministry to lobby government on the need to increase its budgetary allocation to suffice all disciplines and activities under its mandate, instead of the ready refuge it finds in football and the Black Stars as the cause of all the woes in sports.

Doubtless, the Stars take the greatest chunk, but if VOA and his boss think it should no longer be so, so be it! Who can challenge that? Except the President who appointed them.