A former member of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) management board, Ernest Thompson, has called on the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) and other key stakeholders in sports to lobby Parliament and also intensify their advocacy for the establishment of a Sports Fund to address the dwindling fortunes of sports in Ghana through sustained funding.
He said the lack of funding represented the biggest challenge affecting sports development in Ghana; hence, the need to have a new and sustainable funding model to fund sports beyond the dependence on annual budgetary allocation for sports.
Mr Thompson, a long-time Board Secretary for Hearts of Oak, told the Graphic Sports that as a very influential body in Ghana sports, he believed that SWAG must take up a leading role in the campaign to get the Ministry of Youth and Sports to set up a Sports Fund to help develop sports.
Importance and urgency
He said that SWAG must create awareness of the importance and urgency of such a fund in order to create an environment that would bring together sports business experts, the business community, Parliament and other institutions to deliberate how to establish, manage and grow such a fund.
“I commend SWAG for recognising the contributions of individual sportsmen and women through their annual SWAG Awards, but the time has come for them to delve into the development of sports holistically by lobbying Members of Parliament (MPs) and other stakeholders to support the setting up of a Sports Fund to make the development of sports more effective.
“If we have a well-resourced Sports Fund, just like the GETFund [for Education], there will be a much bigger impact in Ghana sports within the next five years,” he said.
Explaining, he said besides supporting football to grow exponentially at the local and international levels, such a sports fund would also have a trickle-down effect on grassroots development which was very critical but often denied the needed resources.
“The fund, when set up, will grow with time and its benefit will be palpably felt at the local and international levels, especially during tournaments, and with time, the attraction of Ghana sport will be felt worldwide,” he added.
Mr Thompson said revenues generated from international tournaments that mainly benefit individuals could also be recouped into the fund to speed up sports development at all levels, including the grassroots where the youth talents abound.
“Instead of sharing money generated from international tournaments among individuals who did not make any meaningful contributions to the tournament, let’s recoup such money into the sports fund to beef it up,” Mr Thompson advised.
“We can’t build a lot of sports infrastructure in a year, but if we have a blueprint on how to fund sports, we can achieve something palpable in the future,” he added.