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A document purportedly originating from Ghana’s sports ministry suggests that the Ghanaian Football Association (GFA) spent nearly $9 billion on their unsuccessful AFCON 2023 campaign.

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In continuation of the recent disclosure concerning the Black Stars’ expenditures, fresh details have surfaced regarding their financial allocation for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament held in Côte d’Ivoire.

Despite attempts by the government and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to keep this information confidential, recent revelations have brought the details to light.

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Financial Insights into the Black Stars’ Campaign
The Ghanaian government and GFA have been tight-lipped about the financial intricacies of the Black Stars’ involvement in the ongoing 2024 AFCON. Despite pressures from Ghana’s Parliament and sports journalists, both the Youth and Sports Minister and FA officials have refrained from disclosing this information, which is considered vital for public transparency.

The secrecy surrounding the AFCON budget for the Black Stars, particularly following Ghana’s disappointing performance, has raised concerns. Analogies have been drawn, likening the budget secrecy to safeguarding nuclear codes, emphasizing the extreme measures taken to conceal this information.

Revelation of the AFCON Budget
According to information shared by Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, the documents disclose that the Ghanaian government and GFA agreed on a substantial AFCON budget of $8.5 million (approximately ₦9 billion). This budget is distinct from the millions already expended on the qualifiers and was detailed in a letter from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, seeking partial payment of the budget.

Queries have been raised regarding the rationale behind such a significant budget for a country grappling with financial difficulties, including loan defaults and seeking an IMF bailout. Notably, the budget surpasses the prize money for the AFCON winner, set at $7 million, indicating a guaranteed financial deficit for Ghana even if they had emerged victorious.

The budget is also contrasted with lower allocations of other nations like Zambia, which earmarked only $2.1 million for the same tournament. Criticism has been directed at the high budget for Ghana, a nation undergoing debt restructuring, particularly as it did not translate into on-field success.

Parliamentary Scrutiny and Ongoing Investigations
Expectations are high for additional disclosures as more documents are anticipated to be released soon. These documents, likely to shed light on the budgetary process and decision-making, are poised to provide crucial details for the ongoing investigation.

Stakeholders and the public are eagerly awaiting these revelations to gain a better understanding of Ghana’s financial management during their AFCON participation.

Role of SOA Oversight
SOA Oversight, instrumental in bringing these issues to the forefront, has pledged to continue efforts to uncover and share information regarding the budget. Their role remains pivotal in ensuring transparency and accountability, and the upcoming disclosures are eagerly anticipated by those closely monitoring this matter.

This investigation extends beyond the AFCON budget, highlighting broader concerns about governance and sports administration in Ghana. The outcome of the parliamentary probe and subsequent revelations could significantly impact how sports budgets are formulated, approved, and disclosed in the future, promoting a more transparent and accountable system.

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