Crunch talks are set to take place over whether the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) will run the Accra 2023 African Games; casting further doubt over the continental multi-sport event.
Representatives from ANOCA are due to meet with key officials involved in the Games at the African Union’s (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia tomorrow.
Ahmed Hashim, Secretary General of ANOCA, described it as a “cut off meeting” as he raised doubt over the organisation’s involvement and whether the Games will go ahead altogether.
His comments come after the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC) threatened to boycott the event if a row with the AU was not resolved.
“If you ask me whether the Games will hold or not, it’s a very difficult question as there is still a lot of infrastructure to be completed,” Hashim told insidethegames.
“When you speak about infrastructure that means construction and that is not easy task.
“It is time dependent and with time dependency I think we are almost at critical timing.
“Tomorrow’s meeting is a very decisive one and after that we have to turn to our General Assembly and then a final decision will be made by ANOCA members.”
The issue for ANOCA centres on the host city contract, with Hashim claiming that the deal his organisation signed was “not confirmative” with the separate agreement made between the AU and the Accra 2023 Organising Committee in April of this year.
Hashim also expressed concerns over the financial situation in Ghana, with the nation forced to call upon the International Monetary Fund for a bailout amid record levels of inflation causing escalating living costs.
“Ghana will not lose the rights as they have been entrusted to Ghana by the African Union,” said Hashim.
“We are always the supporters of the Games.
“We want the Games to be happening because it is for the benefit of the athletes.
“They belong to the sport movement, they do not belong to the African Union which is a political arm of Africa.
“We want it to be a standard Games, not just a sports festival.
“We want a Games that would satisfy the athletes, which would give the minimal requirement of international standard.
“We want to be heavily engaged in the day to day management of the Games because the agreement says we manage the Games.
“For a year and a half we have not been managing.
“They were using other tools, other instruments within the agreement that they have signed with Ghana which is not compliant with the agreement that they have signed with us in 2018.
“We assured them that we are ready to go out there and support them for the sake of their athletes but at the same time we have a legal framework that would give us this intro to support and this legal agreement is with the African Union and not the host country.
“The host country has an agreement with the AU, we have an agreement with the AU so we have to reach consensus with the AU and then we get capacity engagement with the host country.”
The crunch meeting is set to see Hashim and International Olympic Committee member Paul Tergat meet with African Union officials and AASC President Gen Ahmed Nasser.
“The fact that the AU called for this meeting is an indication that they felt that things are not moving well and some of the Ministers and continental dignitaries are saying that there is a need for the sports community of Africa to be directly involved in this Games,” added Hashim.
“If we are involved, we have a very well organised event for athletes prior to going to Paris [2024 Olympics].
Accra is due to stage the Games from August 4 to 19. –insidethegames