Minister for Youth and Sports Mustapha Ussif has denied playing a role in the decision to close down the Accra Sports Stadium in December for non-sporting activities.
The closure, implemented by the National Sports Authority (NSA), affected the Ghana Premier League during the festive season, leading to criticism from the public.
While religious and social cavities were held, Hearts of Oak, Accra Lions and Great Olympics were directed to find temporary venues for their matches.
“No, I did not [authorize the closure of the sports stadium in December]. I am aware [the stadia was closed] and I did call him [Peter Twumasi] to ask. My major concern was the pitch.
During a session with the Public Accounts Committee on Monday, February 5, Minister Ussif clarified his stance, emphasising that the primary purpose of sporting facilities is talent development and hosting competitions.
The Minister revealed that he urged the Director General to cease renting out the stadium for non-sporting events, citing the upcoming Africa Games and the ongoing Ghana Premier League as significant reasons to maintain the stadium’s condition.
“Even though the NSA by law is the authority having the powers to manage all the sporting facilities for us and to ensure they are in good shape, once we have a major tournament coming; the Africa Games and we have also the Premiership ongoing, my major concern is how much we are getting from these social events that we are giving out these facilities to.”
With the Accra Sports Stadium set to host all three group games of the Black Satellites during the upcoming 2023 Africa Games, the Minister claimed he had warned the NSA boss to desist from renting out the facility for social events.
“I have engaged the Director General on that going forward; this should not be done because, at the end of the day, whatever you get from these social events might not be able to maintain the pitch,” Minister Ussif stated.