Tue, Oct

The business of football an unfriendly terrain? 

In our MONDAY SPECIAL edition, we carried the story of the sale notice put out by the owner and bankroller of Medeama SC, Moses Armah (Mospacka), and we must say we felt jolted by the sudden news.

The reason is that this is a club that has big sponsors such as Gold Ghana Darmang and the Ghana Manganese Company and has twice been successful in the MTN FA Cup (2013 and 2015), as well as reaching the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup this year as the representative of Ghana.

Mr Armah gave several reasons for the decision to offload the club that he had managed since 2008 (from the lower divisions to the top-flight premiership) to an interested investor, citing tiredness, lack of motivation and distraction from his other businesses. 

But, doubtless, the major factor for the intended sale was the drain on his finances by the club and which, he hinted, was perilously dragging his other businesses aground. 

We cannot but empathise with all the Mospackas of this country for having taken the trouble to take to football club ownership and administration, much to their financial disappointment and distress.

 Indeed, this situation is not new but has been a familiar trend in football club administration in the country, as can be discerned from the very history of Medeama.

Without boring readers, suffice us to point out that it was as a result of a similar situation that Kumasi-based entrepreneur, Mr Kwabena Kesse, sold his one-time elite outfit, Kessben FC, to Mospacka, out of which emerged Medeama SC.

It is very discouraging that, especially in our part of the world, football club business has tended to be a risky undertaking, whether by single individuals or partnerships.

This is why we would like to pay tribute to the likes of Messrs Seth Yeboah, Abdul Salam Yakubu, Owusu Achiaw, Victor Ahiakpor, Emmanuel Kyeremeh, Mikki Charles, Nana Kwame Nketia, Randy Abbey, Wilfred Osei Palmer, Kurt Okraku, Nana Aidoo, the new entrant Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, Alhaji Grusah, among others.

However, we will not hesitate to state that some of these football administrators and bankrollers of clubs have been their own enemies by their failure to open up their clubs to be run as businesses as modern trends dictate.

For instance, even though Mospacka wants “to sell Medeama to any interested investor”, he is “not interested in partners who want to buy percentage shares”. 

And you ask yourself: what then happens if he fails to get an interested investor to buy?

It is also the sad case that most of these individual owners of clubs often fail to constitute management boards for the effective running of the clubs. Even when they do, they hardly consult the boards for the necessary advice on very critical issues, as the one confronting the Medeama owner now.

If it were so, why would the Medeama board now be out that the club would not be for sale? (See story on back page.)

Medeama’s case may just be the tip of the iceberg, as we gather from the grapevine that other club owners feel similar financial distress and are wont to also throw in the towel.