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.