I Regret Raising Funds For Fans ….Former Youth & Sports Minister Tells Commission

Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah former Sports Minister answering questions from the Commission (3)Former Minister of Youth and Sports (MoYS), Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah has regretted embarking on funds mobilization to enable supporters travel to Brazil to support the Black Stars at the World Cup.

“If I’m given another chance, I would never get myself involved in any exercise to ensure that supporters travel to go and support the national team,” he stated.

“When government decided not to provide funds for supporters prior to the World Cup, I should have just washed my hands off and allowed anyone who wanted to go to Brazil to do so on his or her own,” he added.

Appearing before the Commission of Inquiry yesterday, Afriyie-Ankrah, now a minister of state at the presidency tasked supporter unions to from henceforth find their own ways to raise to travel and support the national teams.

“Supporters should consider joining “susu” schemes from now in order to raise money for upcoming competitions,” he advised.

He said government might decide to assist the supporters at some times but urged them to take the initiative.

The former Sports minister told the Commission that the problems that confront him today would have been avoided if such considerations were made during the World Cup.

FLIGHT CHALLENGES

The former minister attributed fans inability to travel to venues to watch matches to flight challenges.

He explained that several efforts were made by the travel and tour agent to rectify the situation after news of landing permit cropped up, but it became apparent that the aircraft would not be able to fly.

According to him, there were several attempts to secure flights from other international and domestic airlines but all to no avail.

When all efforts failed, he said, an unqualified apology was rendered to the supporters by the travel agent and committee members on the eve of June 25.

ASYLUM IN BRAZIL

Commenting on fans that sought asylum in Brazil, Afriyie-Ankrah told the Commission that, the news came to him as a shock especially after learning that over a 100 supporters disappeared from the camp within the first week of arrival.

Originally, the Ministry was supposed to fly 612 supporters to the tournament but when the roll was checked at the supporters’ base in Brazil, the Ministry realized that the total number of fans there was 696.

According to Mr. Ankrah, he personally realized the numbers in the camp was on the high within the first three days of arrival but the numbers started to decrease days after, attributing it failure to be accredited.

After realizing this, Afriyie-Ankrah said a special monitoring system was deployed by to monitor activities of the fans, adding that, ‘with that system in place, those that wanted to run became handicapped. For someone to decide to run away, the act must be premeditated,” he added.

 

He expressed shock over the news that some supporters sought asylum in Brazil with the excuse that there was religious and political unrest in Ghana, because those stories were unfounded.

AMBASSADORS

The former Youth and Sports Minister stated that ambassadors were appointed to help raise funds after appeals for sponsorship from corporate bodies had yielded little result.

He confirmed that the ambassadors were accommodated by the MoYS and were paid $200 per diem against the $100 received by the players and the $150 taken by the technical team, adding that, ‘the ambassadors to the best of my knowledge did not receive extra allowances from the MoYS.’

BALANCE

The minister stated that, a balance of $4,444,053.58 on the $8.9 million sent to Brazil has been deposited in the MoYS’ account.

He said, every amount spent was accounted for.

He said he did everything humanly possible to deal with events that transpired but ‘as human as I am, I had a limit for which I could be held responsible for all that went wrong during the tournament.’

He debunked the notion that the Ministry had sold the tickets meant for the Ghanaian fans, stating that all the tickets secured for Ghanaians were brought back.

“I take responsibility for the overall happenings in Brazil but along the line certain things did not go well and we need to examine to know who were responsible for those failures.”

In refusing to rule out a sabotage as suggested by the Commission, Afriyie-Ankrah replied, “my lord there are some aspects of these whole drama that does not make sense but we would talk in camera.”

The former minister challenged the general public and the media to stop peddling falsehood against him as they could appear before the commission if they have genuine cases.

By Michael D. Abayateye and Raymond Ackumey

 

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