Govt didn’t spend $750,000 on Rio 2016 — GOC

Mr. Richard Akpokavie - Secretary General, GOCThe Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) has rejected claims in a section of the media that government spent $750,000 on Ghana’s participation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

A statement signed by its Secretary General, Richard Akpokavie yesterday said the erroneous reports have cast the GOC in a bad light, adding that, the GOC stated nowhere at its press conference held last week that the said amount was released to the GOC.

“We state categorically that Rio 2016 Chef de Mission, Chris Essilfie, never said that Government spent $750,000 on Ghana’s preparation and participation in Rio 2016 at the press conference,” the statement said.

Mr. Akpokavie explained that the GOC presented an initial budget of $750,000 to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) earlier in the process, when the GOC’s collation of information from the various sports federations suggested that Ghana’s contingent might comprise 25 athletes.

The amount, however, he explained, was reviewed downward after only 16 Ghanaian athletes qualified for the Games.

It stated that the GOC did not receive and funding directly from the government but appreciated the efforts of the sector Minister that resulted in GNPC providing $120,000 needed to pay for the athletes and officials’ plane tickets to Rio, as well as the further corporate sector solicitation by the minister that enabled the ministry to directly pay the athletes and officials’ per diems that totaled about $80,000.

Mr. Akpokavie pointed out that the timing of the claims was particularly worrying given that the GOC, through its officials, had actively spoken about the budget for Rio 2016 prior, during and after the team’s departure for the Games.

The GOC Secretary General also expressed concerns about recent lines of publication that seem to put them in a bad light with media outfits failing to seek their side to the issues at stake.

He urged the media to be fair and firm in their reportage to present a fair report to readers, adding that any attempt to denigrate the image of the GOC would only put Ghana sports in general in a negative light.

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