One of the key functions of the National Sports Authority (NSA) under the SPORTS ACT, 2016 (Act 934) in achieving its objects, is “the organisation of biennial sports congress to review sports development for the period and map out strategies for sports development for the future”.
This Act, gazetted on 16th December, 2016, has officially laid to rest the Sports Act, 1976 (SMCD 54), which had hitherto influenced and directed the development, promotion and growth of sports in Ghana over the last four decades.
However, the cry for a change in direction, as well as a greater focus on global trends, in establishing sport business as a thriving industry for the nation, especially then on the eve of the ‘Y2K’ phenomenon saw the inauguration of the JOE AGGREY COMMITTEE to fashion new strategies towards addressing the depth of sports malaise confronting our nation.
The 11-member Committee chaired by the then Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Joe Aggrey, a renowned sportswriter, consisted of representations from the then National Sports Council, Ghana Football Association (GFA), Ghana Education Service (GES), Security Services Sports Association (SSESA), Ghana Universities Sports Association (GUSA), Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), National Sports College, Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), Physical Education Association of Ghana (PEAG), and the Women-In-Sports Association of Ghana (co-opted).
This committee was directed as follows:-To review the then existing National Sports Bill to make it more relevant for the promotion and development of sports in Ghana; to critically examine the level of sports infrastructure and equipment in the country and find ways of improving on them.
It was also directed to examine the existing level and scope of manpower in the National Sports Council and advise the Minister accordingly; to determine Ghana’s participation in international games in the short term, medium term and long term; to examine the sources of funding sports in the country and make recommendations to enhance sponsorships; and to deal with any issues which in the opinion of the Committee are incidental to sports promotion and development in the country.
The Committee thereafter set up five (5) sub-committees based on its terms of reference as:- the National Sports Bill; the Sources of Funding; the Infrastructure & Equipment Needs; the Manpower Requirements; and the International Games Participation.
The Joe Aggrey Committee submitted its report to the then Minister of Youth and Sports, the late Osei Kwaku and former MP for Asokwa in 2002. In all my 40 years of involvement in sports development and promotion in Ghana, that, in my estimation, is about the best document to deal with in the holistic attempt at addressing the same issues that have bedevilled our Sports from the early days of our nationhood.
Trust me, I have participated in all manners of Committees since the promulgation of the Sports Act (SMCD 54, 1976) in the attempt to pass a new Sports Act till the final passage of the Sports Act, 2016 (Act 934).
In as much as various stakeholders still have issues with this Act, including myself, for varied reasons, the best foot forward is to attempt to start working with this law for what it sought to achieve for Ghana Sports.
One unique feature of the Sports Act 2016 is the absence of any provisions that seek to influence the formation and administration of national, regional and district sports federations and associations as well as sports clubs. Except that, the Act solely deals with the NATIONAL SPORTS AUTHORITY (NSA) to provide for the development, promotion and management of sports and related matters.
This is grounded on the 1992 Constitution, which grants the right of association as a fundamental right to every group of Ghanaians for whatever interest, business and commonality.
However, the Act defines the extent of operational relationship that shall exist between the National Sports Authority on one side and all bodies, including federations, associations and clubs as well as individuals on the other in the pursuance of its mandate.