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FEATURE: Stop the noise on the World Cup budget

Published on: 14 March 2014
Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi.

It seems as a country, we have somewhat perfected the art of making allegations against people and the offices they occupy even when we have little or no proof of the very things we allege.

That, practice, commonly found on the Ghanaian political turf has eaten deep into the country’s sporting arena.

It is unfortunate some of us in the media who often initiate and additionally fan some of these allegations haven’t yet recognized the damaging work we are doing not only to some honourable people and their offices but also the entire populace.

Let me make it clear that under no circumstance will I defend wrongdoing or corrupt practices that come up in our football circles or our sports in general.

It is necessary however to stress, that, it is unacceptable the levels we are taking wild allegations of wrongdoing against authorities at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Youth and Sports Ministry to, and yet, we don’t seem to have the spine to substantiate those allegations.

A case in point is the so-called US$20million World Cup budget.

For weeks now, so much has been said about the budget, which is believed to be around the figure quoted above and which many people argue is too much for a country that has serious economic difficulties.

That Ghana has dire economic challenges is a fact no reasonable, sincere Ghanaian living under the harsh conditions here will deny.

Living conditions in the country are increasingly worsening. If the government has any means to reduce or minimize the hardships Ghanaians are facing, it must be encouraged to do its best.

Added to that, all efforts must be made to protect the public purse from frivolous expenditure. I however don’t think any money reasonably demanded and justifiably spent on the Black Stars’ participation at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil can be termed as frivolous.

Listening to all the talk on the World Cup budget; from what has been published by sections of the media to the commentaries by football fans and remarks made by the Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, I have come to the conclusion that, there is so much ado about nothing.

First of all, where is the World Cup budget? Who has it? How much is Ghana likely to spend on the global football competition?Who will formally make the budget public? I ask these questions against the backdrop that, no single individual has been courageous to say exactly how much the World Cup budget is. We keep hearing it is US$20million. Is it actually US$20million?

What has been put in the budget that makes the figure US$20million?

Why the rash? Where from all the heat? People have been comparing the World Cup budget of other countries to that of Ghana at the time these same people have been unable to even tell us exactly what went into the budgets of those countries and indeed what went into that of Ghana.

I won’t hold brief for anybody at the Ghana Football Association or the Ministry of Youth and Sports but here is the tragedy of this country.

We are quick to making judgement on issues, events and even people without assembling the facts to arrive at reasonable conclusions. We like to blow hot air; get the uninitiated on our side and pursue a needless agenda.

Is that how we forever want to go? I put that question directly to those who have been running with the allegations of corruption against the GFA and the Sports Ministry.

Unless those piling the unnecessary pressure on the GFA and the Sports Ministry have definite figures; unless they can tell us what exactly is in the budget; unless they have found something fishy somewhere; something venal; unless they can pinpoint palpable waste of Ghanaian tax payers’ money; unless they have something else to say apart from the noise they are already making; I advise that they give the whole nation a break!

The practice of invariably thriving on half-baked truths and baseless allegations to carelessly run people down must stop. It doesn’t serve the interest of Ghana. It rather denigrates people. It exposes some of Ghana’s reputable offices to unnecessary ridicule. And we hurt Ghana, not the people or the public offices they hold. When the FA and the Sports Ministry officials returned from Brazil recently, I gathered through media interviews, that, the World Cup budget has been sent to the Ministry for transfer to the President and to cabinet for scrutiny.

Then it will be approved and after which it will be made public. In fact, that is what the Sports Minister said this week. So where exactly is the problem? Where is the corruption being alleged? Don’t we believe what the Minister said? If so we should say so with tangible reasons. Why are we becoming experts at leveling allegations against people just like that? Can a whole World Cup budget be kept away from the Ghanaian public? Is that possible?

Let us reason constructively. That is what Ghana needs. The debate about the World Cup budget so far has been pointless – a struggle over nothing. I suggest that we hold onto all the commentaries until the budget comes out so we can make informed analysis.

By Jerome Otchere

Asante Kotoko Express Newspaper


This article has 6 comment(s), give your comment
  • KOMFO says:
    March 14, 2014 12:30 pm
    So all those auditors comentators the media do not have facts but rather just fabricated stories to the general populace . The readers also jump into the lies and start to insult the officials.Let us learn to be good critics and stop the noise.
  • selfmade says:
    March 14, 2014 01:17 pm
    Nobody is criticizing for criticism sake but rather we have an experience from the two wcs expenditure! If u quite remeber, FIFA nearly banned Ghana from it competitions because a group of people were forcing the- fa to account for the WC monies which they failed to do but rather we talking of dragging Ghana to FIFA for governmental interference which means that there was something shady and fishy about the WC budget in 2010!! We have to let these guys at the fa account for every CEDI's because is not cool for hard earned tax payers monies to be wasted like that! Ghana fa is very corrupt and this is a fact! All the families ll be in Brazil shopping in big malls, eating in expensive restaurants and sleeping in five star hotels at the expense of the poor Ghanaian and the MOST RIDICULOUS OF THIS IS THAT, SOME OF THEM TAKE THEIR GIRRFRIENDS TO CHOP OUR MONIES WITH THEM!! VERY ANNOYING!
  • selfmade says:
    March 14, 2014 01:21 pm
    20 milion for a month long tournament is ridiculous!! These fa member are filthy rich because we have not even yet tackle the SIDEBACKS from players which accounts for 20%! A nation of JOKERS INDEEED!!
  • spellBOUND says:
    March 14, 2014 05:25 pm
    mr author, u should have put your name on this article so we can address our comments to u by name.. first, the absence of evidence does not constitute the evidence of absence. second, the distrust in public officials as it relates to money did not just materialize out of thin air. many issues have their precedents. third, are you claiming not to be interested in stories like this, as it has given you a column to write. has it not? if you think this is speculation, then you have not seen the american media at work when it comes to public figures. issues like this keeps these public figures on their toes, which is how it should be. for the last thing we need is there to be no accountability, hence prompting senseless thieving by these pot belly figures... stick to your day job mr author, for stories like this put money in your pocket.
  • kwabena says:
    March 14, 2014 03:27 pm
    Mr. Jerome Okere you just stated that Ghanaians like ‘the practice of invariably thriving on half-baked truths which means in your opinion there is some truth in it? Like the saying goes there is always some amount of truth in every rumor. “Making allegations against people and offices they occupy even when we have lithe or no proof of the very things we allege’ People hide behind this proof thing and do all sorts of things in this country. As far I am concerned I am just managing to accept what is going on in this country but I do not think we have honorable people at Ghana Football Association or the Ministry of Youth and Sports, let alone to damage their work as you claimed. ‘It is unacceptable the levels we are taking wild allegations of wrongdoing against authorities’ It is unacceptable by you because probably you are getting some of the ‘Nkwan de wa” as Akwasi Pratt will put it. Don’t you think that Ghanaians have realised that most of the time you people intentionally bring the budget late so that we will not get enough time to debate on it and that is why some people have leaked it. Now I am sure the GFA will be forced to bring it as early as possible for debate? We may not have the facilities to get the proof you so wish but will use our wild allegations to push for the right thing to be done. Who in this country do not Know that one of the corrupt institutions in Ghana is the GFA and sports ministry or where people get the ‘Nkwan de wa’? Have you forgotten how Mallam Issa was swindled? What about Muntaka? These are people who tried to weed out the ‘methuselah’ corruption at the ministry of Youth and sports and look at what happened to them. You wait a leader is coming in Ghana and is very soon where those who have one way or the other looted and shared this country wealth just to make sure that their great-grand children enjoys to the detriment of all Ghanaians since Nkrumah will be forced to pay the country back with interest and that day will be blameless. You mark it on the wall. Do you know the empires that have come and gone? Don’t annoyed me, Kwasiato?
  • spellBOUND says:
    March 14, 2014 05:26 pm
    i seem to have spotted your name afterwords. nonetheless.....