NSA boss to GFA, premier clubs: Build, manage your own stadiums
The Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Professor Peter Twumasi, has suggested to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and premier league clubs to construct and manage their own stadiums -- dedicated venues for football activities -- in order to reduce the reliance on state-owned facilities that cater to a multitude of sports and at the grassroots level.
In advocating an independent stadium ownership, the NSA boss proposed that funds, such as those generated from Ghana's participation in the FIFA World Cup, be allocated to building football-specific stadiums. He highlighted the multifunctional nature of NSA facilities, catering not only to football but also to the development of the various disciplines the NSA has responsibility for.
Expressing concern over the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) recent assessment of the Cape Coast Stadium, which led to its temporary exclusion from hosting international matches for failing to meet compliance requirements, Prof Twumasi defended the stadium's suitability, asserting that the facility was well-prepared by the NSA to be "certified and perfect" for international competitions.
"Our sports facilities cannot be kept as if we are playing Black Stars matches every day. The state has the facility for sports development across all sports so use the facilities to serve all other sports. The NSA facilities are not only for football but for athletics, rugby, volley as well as the school’s sports, among others. The facilities are for all manner of sports, especially grassroots,” Prof Twumasi told the Graphic Sports last Friday.
“I think it is high time the GFA built their own stadium. For example, the World Cup money that we get should be used for some of these things –– building a stadium. We can use the World Cup money to design a stadium purposely for football matters and the federation (GFA) will handle that."
Expressing his viewpoint on financial autonomy for sports associations, the NSA boss suggested that, over time, these entities should strive to meet their bills and eventually have their stadiums, following the model observed in other countries.
Notably, he recommended a compliance requirement for premier league clubs, proposing that ownership or possession of suitable venues become mandatory for participation in the topflight league, envisioning a scenario where clubs must demonstrate ownership or secure facilities through loans, with repayments deducted from gate proceeds.
“Not only the GFA but all the clubs playing in the premiership must own stadiums or venue good enough to host a match. If I have my way, every club that plays in the Premier League must demonstrate that they have their own stadium. If they don’t have the money, they can team up with the banks for loans to be deducted from their gate proceeds for a number of years.
“Football is business. Their purpose is organising professional players for money, transfer of players is for money so how can the clubs not have their own stadiums. When they come to play matches and we share the gate proceeds sometimes the NSA receives peanut because people don’t patronise the games,” he said.
Responding to concerns about the need for external expertise in facility management, Prof Twumasi defended the competence of NSA staff and asserted that the agency's technocrats possessed the necessary skills and experience to manage and maintain the stadiums. He even went further to assert that CAF experts might not possess qualifications comparable to those of NSA's personnel.
“I believe we have the technocrats to manage the facilities who are doing well. We already have the experts. Those working here are estate managers and they know their job. CAF experts may not even have the degrees that our workers have,” he insisted.