Head of Ghana Olympic Committee sees no quick fix

Ghana is unlikely to resolve its difference with the IOC any
time soon, putting in doubt its participation in the 2012 London
Olympics.

B.T. Baba, who is disputing a Ghana Olympic Committee
presidential election loss to the government-backed Francis Dodoo,
told The Associated Press on Friday that the International Olympic
Committee is still at odds with Ghana’s government.

The IOC has suspended the Ghana Olympic Committee for government
interference, although IOC president Jacques Rogge said he was
hopeful the situation in the west African country would be resolved
”as soon as possible.” Ghana fields one of the world’s top
under-23 soccer teams.

Baba told the AP that his country’s Olympic committee was taking
Ghana’s government to court over what he called ”human rights
breaches,” after a raid on the committee offices by members of an
anti-fraud unit. The dispute could lead to a battle for control of
the Olympic body.

”Ghana’s suspension is likely to run for a while,” Baba said.
”We are going to use that forum (the court case) to defend
ourselves against the government-supported group that wanted to
oust us from office.”

Ghana’s government is believed to want Dodoo, a former Olympic
triple jumper, as the head of its Olympic body, in breach of IOC
rules that do not allow governments to interfere in national
Olympic committees and their election processes.

A high court in Accra has ruled against the government
interference in the nation’s Olympic committee, Baba said, and the
case will be heard Friday after three postponements. Baba said he
was unsure of the government’s response to the legal action.

On Thursday, Rogge said the International Olympic Committee’s
executive board had taken the decision to suspend Ghana after
months of fruitless negotiations with Ghanaian officials. It means
Ghana’s Olympic committee will no longer receive IOC funding, its
officials are banned from attending Olympic events and Ghana’s
athletes are barred from competing in the Olympics.

It also means Ghana’s young soccer players, who won the under-20
World Cup in 2009, could miss out on the competition in London.

Ghana has won four Olympic medals – a silver in boxing in 1960,
bronzes in boxing in 1964 and 1972, and a bronze in men’s soccer in
1992. Ghana sent about a dozen athletes to the 2008 Beijing
Games.

Soccer is easily the country’s most popular sport and is likely
to be hardest hit by an Olympic ban. Following the under-20
success, Ghana’s men’s national team reached the final of the 2010
African Cup of Nations and the quarterfinals of the World Cup in
South Africa.

Ghanaian soccer has also been in trouble with FIFA because of
government interference. In December, FIFA gave the Ghana Football
Association an ultimatum to end government interference in its
business or face an international ban.