The newly appointed technical advisor to the Minister of Youth and Sports and the Director of Sports at the University of Ghana, Dr. Bella Bello Bitugu, says the ministry needs to diversify its channels of funding all sporting disciplines.
According to him, the overreliance on the central government for funding sports and the focus on football has led to the deterioration of other sporting disciplines in the country.
“We have been skewed towards a certain line of thinking and unfortunately, the justification is maybe yes, football is a brand and you can’t do without football. It is the master of the games, I mean if you look at sponsorship, visibility, etc., even at the world stage, if you think of the football world cup, it can be compared to the biggest sporting event, the Olympic Games. That is not to be denied. To deny that, we mean losing on a very important aspect of the industry of sports.
“However, the challenge is that we are too skewed toward that particular game, and number two, we have forgotten or maybe neglected the other disciplines. But one thing that has resulted in this kind of phenomenon is that we have relied solely on one source of funding because you know to get this thing there, apart from the brains and planning, you’ll need the funding,” he stated.
Speaking on Sports express on Saturday, July 17, the UG Sports Director suggested that funds received from the government should be shared equally to all sporting disciplines.
“And if we are only reliant on the central administration for cash, then clearly, the result will be what we have seen. So what I am going to say is the way I see it, we need to diversify our channel of the fund to be able to get funding for the others as well, number one, and football included. Number two, no matter what funding we get from the government, we have to do the needful. Football is not the only discipline, we need to make sure that whatever amount of cake that we give to football, we to think of the others, and ironically, my knowledge is that, they need only a small percentage of what football needs,” he said.
He added that other sporting disciplines should also be promoted to create the visibility they require for funding and development.
“If we can work hard to become visionaries, diversify our sources of funding, get funds for this, it will happen, and that is certainly the tangent I think we have to go. Beyond that, you see, the other disciplines must also be supported, must be promoted to create the visibility and the promotion that they require so that when they go seeking funding, it will be known, they will be recognized, they will be listened to and they will be supported,” he added.
Dr. Bello Bitugu was appointed on Thursday, July 15, to serve as the Technical Advisor to the Minister for Youth and Sports on issues regarding sports development and sports for development.
The Minister for Youth and Sports has already assured the entire sporting fraternity of his support, amidst concerns that previous ministers have largely focused on football to neglect other sporting disciplines.