Ministers put their foot down (Botswana Daily News)

| September 6, 2015

African Union sports ministers have condemned claims that the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) wants take over the running of Africa Games from African Union Sports Council (AUSC).

In 2014, the continental body’s vice-president, Mustapha Berraf was quoted saying control of the African Games would return to the ANOCA following Brazzaville 2015.

However, according to Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng’s official Facebook page, the Region 5 Council of Ministers caucus meeting held recently, has reaffirmed its position on the ownership of the games.

Olopeng said African ministers rejected and condemned ANOCA’s attempt to take ownership of the games as disrespectful and arrogant, adding both the two meetings of ministers adopted the Brazzaville Declaration that African Games shall remain fully owned by member states through the AUSC and that the position was non-negotiable.

It was also adopted that the 2019 African Games would be organised by AU and AASC and bidding for the African Games host will be managed by AU through AUSC being the owners of the games.

In May this year, ANOCA Secretary General, Thomas Sithole issued a press release saying the 46th Session of the ANOCA executive committee which met in Sao Tome from April 13-14 made decisions that ANOCA had not been involved in the organisation of the All-Africa Games, and discussions were underway with the African Union with a view to transferring such responsibility to ANOCA starting with the 2019 games.

According to the release, the AU and ANOCA discussions have now reached a critical level, and both sides have agreed on a general outline of a memorandum of understanding which was subject of discussions in Addis Ababa on April 29.

It was expected that all going well, the MoU would be signed and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) would therefore be the games’ principal points of contact.

In the meantime, a delegate from each NOC has been accommodated in the list of officials who would be accredited by the organising committee during the games.

On the other hand, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho had confirmed on-going discussions between African governments and ANOCA to have the latter deliver the games.

Indeed the transition is long overdue. The current setup, while beneficial in some respects, has been disadvantageous in many others.

In the past, two different teams of the same age group have had to be assembled at the same time to attempt to qualify for two different competitions, undertakings that have been costly indeed, Serufho had said.

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