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Sports News
FA denies report on WC finances 1/31/2007
An upbeat FA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi took time off his busy schedule over the weekend and confidently responded to media reports concerning an alleged financial chaos created during Ghana’s qualifying and participation at the World Cup.

A report in the local bi-weekly sports paper, the Graphic Sports last Friday alleged stated that the Black Stars'''' sensational World Cup campaign, from the qualification series to the final showdown in Germany, has left in its trail a huge financial disaster.

Though the FA’s auditted accounts is yet to be published by the Ghana’s Auditor General, the newspaper falsely reported that a huge loss of nearly ¢40 billion had been incurred by the Football Association.

Even before the FA gets a copy of the auditor''''s report to be presented before the Executive Committee and Congres, Kwesi Nyantakyi says the newspaper report contains untruths.

Below, we publish the full text of the FA President’s official response to the publication by the Graphic Sports.
Since the creation of the FIFA World Cup in 1930 and the birth of Ghana as a nation state in 1957, we never participated in the world cup until the year of our lord 2006.

The participation of our dear team, the Black Stars, brought to the kitty certain pecuniary benefits from the mundial.

A country that qualifies to the 1/16th stage of the world cup competition receives CHF 1m (about US$780,000) for preparation.

Prior to the World Cup, FIFA paid US$157,000 to each participating country to cover airfare of its contingent to the competition.

Playing the first three (3) matches at the group stage gives the participating country US$4.5m. A qualification to the 1/8th stage of the competition entitles the country to an additional US$1.5m.

By FIFA’s own financial formulae for the World Cup, Ghana earned a maximum of US$6m from the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

A detailed FIFA financial statement showed that out of the amount earned expenses incurred on hotel accommodation, feeding, World Cup insurance fund, fines and others were deducted from the prize money leaving a disposable income of US$4.9m.

Ghana’s campaign for the World Cup was funded by the Government, sponsors, donors, the GFA and FIFA.

The Government provided the bulk of the funds. At the World Cup the Government provided all the money needed to finance the payment of bonuses.

A costs and benefits analysis of the World Cup cannot be undertaken merely on the simple formulae of credit and debit of cash.

Any approach limited to only debits and credits of cash will result in an absurdity, unreasonableness and mischief.

Last week, the state owned sports newspaper, Graphic Sports carried a story on its front page with a screaming banner headline reading FINANCIAL DISASTER.

The headline caught the attention of several well meaning personalities who thought a case of financial wrong doing had been made against the GFA.

Several others read the story because they thought the financiers of the World Cup had realized to their chagrin that the World Cup was after all a worthless financial investment.

These views and several others were not to be. The story was simply the reckless opinion of the newspaper that once the financial returns from the World Cup – the prize money –was lower than the expenditure incurred; there was necessarily a case of a financial disaster.

The story further stated that six months after the world cup the Executive Committee was yet to receive a financial report on the World Cup.

That according to the story created some discordant voices within the Executive Committee that appeared to be dissatisfied.

The writer, went on that certain expenditures had been incurred from the World Cup funds without the approval of the Executive Committee. Quite characteristic of the Graphic Sports, no official source was quoted in the story. Their sources are usually “a source close to the Executive Committee” or “according to a reliable source”.

I will like to first rebut the story as being bogus and unmeritorious. The screaming headline is misleading and inconsistent with the contents of the story.

The story is a mix of truths and half truths. During the World Cup the Government advanced almost US$4m to cover bonuses and per diem. Part of the prize money has been refunded to the Ministry of Finance.

This was made against an understanding reached with Government when we needed to pay appearance fees to our players. The balance of the prize money will be spent on projects that will benefit the national teams, the clubs, and other stakeholders.

Some of the proposed projects are expansion of facilities at Prampram, buses for the national teams, duty post for the national team coach, clubs and others.

To describe our World Cup campaign as a financial disaster is, in my respectful opinion, a poorly researched and written conclusion based on the disjointed presentation of the thoughts of a careless intellectual thinker.

National team football matches and events are not commercial ventures whose motive is to reap financial gains.

That is why in Africa Governments have continued to provide funding for football in spite of the fact that no direct financial gains are made.

It is for the same good reasons that corporate bodies have not relented in their efforts to provide sponsorship for sports and football in particular.

The primary objective of Governments and sponsors to football is to accomplish their social obligation. Any financial returns accruing from that will be a secondary objective.

In the same vein, state institutions like the MTTU of the Police Service, Audit Service and Parliament who receive heavy doses of state financial support will be declared as being financial losses because they do not generate enough financial revenues to offset their costs of operations.

Yet these are institutions that render invaluable services that surpass financial or pecuniary gains to the state.

Football has proven to be an effective tool of social engineering.

It has the power to galvanize the youth and draw them away from vices and other anti productive tendencies in the society. The World Cup brought Ghana benefits beyond financial gains.

It engendered unity in the country and ensured that for the first time Ghanaians considered themselves as one people before belonging to any ethnic group, religion or political party.

The World Cup also served as the best instrument of political and international diplomacy. Prior to the World Cup less than 15% of South Koreans had heard about Ghana.

The post World Cup popularity index for Ghana among South Koreans shot precipitously to 75%.

That was an achievement that the state institutions responsible for diplomacy and tourism had failed to accomplish even with all the state machinery and resources behind them.

The economic gains chalked from the World Cup were far in excess of the US$7m allegedly spent on the mundial.

Apart from direct financial gains that we made, the bonuses that were paid increased the purchasing powers of our players most of whom have relations in Ghana.

The multiplier effect of the injection of capital inflows into the country is far reaching and significantly consequential.

There were persons or organizations who also rode on the back of the World Cup and made financial fortunes. I recall vividly that the Graphic Sports sent its editor to the World Cup as a correspondent.

A few days before our match against Brazil he filed a story on the invasion of the camp of the Black Stars by Brazilian prostitutes.

Though we queried the story as being baseless, I am informed that, that publication recorded a sales bonanza for Graphic Sports. Have all such and other sales gains been reckoned as being part of the gains from the World Cup?

That is the context within which Ghana’s World Cup campaign must be viewed or else it will appear to be a financial tsunami to invest in any venture that does not produce direct financial returns to offset the investments made therein.

For football, we most invariably do not make financial returns from most of the competitions that we participate in. Right from the Under – 17 competition through Africa to the world cup, the under-20 championship at Africa to the World Cup, All Africa Games, Olympic Games to the African Cup of Nations no financial payments are made to any participating Country and yet will any one dare say that they are a financial drain or disaster?. I hope not.

The World Cup is the only mass sporting event, the world over, where financial support is provided to supplement the efforts of the countries.

The payments made to the countries are not intended to offset all the costs incurred on the event. At the last world cup, huge bonuses were paid by the participating countries to their players. Ghana paid the lowest bonuses.

In Germany I read a newspaper that published all bonuses paid with Ghana lagging behind the rest.

We held a fruitful meeting with our players and convinced them against astronomical demands. We are all witnesses to the demands of the Togolese players, the payments that were made and the politics and wrangling that took place and the effect of all that on the performance of Togo at the World Cup.

We managed ours so professionally that nobody heard about any financial issues about our team at the World Cup.

The Graphic Sports newspaper would have saved itself some reputation if it had sought official clarification on the issues raised in the story. But it chose to quote anonymous sources which cannot be verified to satisfy the mischief that the story sought to achieve.

If the paper had cross checked its facts it would have been apparent that accounts are not prepared overnight. Some circumspection would reveal that it takes auditors some time to audit accounts.

You do not present accounts to the Executive Committee or the Congress unless they are audited. I do not see the point in heeding to the orchestrated calls from the paper to present accounts when they are not audited.

In any event is the GFA obliged to present accounts to anybody at all? Our accounts are presentable to Congress, the Government and our sponsors.

An audit is in fact an examination of the financial records and transactions of an organization in accordance with internationally accepted standards.

Owners and stakeholders of organizations do not possess the requisite skills to understand the business of accounting.

So the auditors will usually examine the accounts and proffer an opinion for the consideration of the owners and stakeholders.

If you appreciate this basic practice of corporate governance, you will not demand accounts when the auditors are still at work.

The so-called discordant voices within the set up of the Executive Committee are a well known source of misinformation to the Graphic Sports.

Such voices have no effect on the Executive Committee because they do not seem to understand the business of the Committee. Is it not strange that such voices can misinform people even when they do not attend meetings where decisions are taken on issues about which they are less informed?

I wish to state emphatically that the Executive Committee has never on any occasion raised a finger about a decision taken without its prior approval.

It is therefore untrue that parts of the World Cup funds were disbursed without the prior approval of the Executive Committee.

I think journalists owe their readers a duty to publish the truth. They must also educate themselves about the workings of organizations they intend to write about.

If the Graphic Sports had spared some time to educate itself, they would have realized that the Emergency Committee of the GFA has the power to take certain decisions on behalf of the Executive Committee so when an ignorant cacophonous, dissonant or “discordant voice” from the Executive Committee gossips to them that certain decisions were taken without the prior approval of the Executive Committee, they can challenge that person.

I even think that the paper could have done better if the culture of cross checking with the competent authorities existed at Graphic Sports.

Any journalist from the paper could have cross checked those facts with me or any responsible officer of the GFA to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the information he/she possesses.

It appears the meeting held with the Management of Graphic last year to discuss some of these concerns have yielded no dividends. Graphic Sports is back to its old worthless ways!

The last lie that I wish to point out in the story is the statement that by a FIFA regulation, the prize money from the world cup is supposed to be paid to the financier of the world cup and in the case of Ghana the Government.

There is no such regulation as erroneously formulated in the story. Let us get more serious with our work.


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