Ghana Rugby President meets with expat community
The President of Ghana Rugby, Mr. Herbert Mensah, and the GRFU Tournament Commissioner. Mr. Steve Noi, met with Mr. Rob Oram of the Accra Rugby Club at the Office of the President in Osu on Tuesday 10 November to discuss various issues in the interest of Rugby development in Ghana.
Ghana hosts a large number of expats who grew up in a Rugby culture and who still have a soft spot for the sport.
The Accra Rugby Club (ARC) who has a home at Legon was initially started as an effort by the expat community to provide expats who are still interested in playing the Game with such an opportunity. The ARC has affiliated in 2015 with the Greater Accra Rugby Association and thus with the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) in an attempt to integrate their activities with that of the GRFU.
Some of the Issues discussed included aspects such as the ‘Development Dilemma’ of Rugby in Ghana, the greater involvement in funding the activities of Ghana Rugby by the expat community, sponsorships or donations by the expat community in cash or in kind, sharing of knowledge and skills by the ARC and the expat community with other Ghanaian clubs, negative perceptions about the ARC as a club not willing to get involved in community youth development and GRFU rules and regulations affecting participation in Rugby by foreign players.
Mr. Mensah explained the ‘Development Dilemma’ of Ghana Rugby by referring to the yet to be released latest GRFU Financial Statements that shows a huge deficit of income to the amount of more than GHS 650,000 that is currently funded by Directors’ loans.
“This situation is not sustainable and certain core activities to properly develop Rugby in Ghana has even been initiated due to a lack of funding,” Mr. Mensah said.
Mr. Mensah further explained that the major sources of funding for the Tier 1 Rugby Unions include development support from World Rugby, huge corporate sponsorships, massive income from broadcasting rights and income from gate proceeds.
He continued to say that none of the above is currently available to Ghana Rugby and even the little support allocated to minority sports such as Ghana Rugby by the Government of Ghana in the past have not been received yet.
“Ghana Rugby must therefore increase its funding base in whatever way it can with corporate support and sponsorships as the main priority and the ARC and its members can make a substantial contribution by mobilising corporate support through its contact network,” Mr Mensah said.
Mr. Mensah continued to say that cash contributions are obviously the priority but any other contributions in kind will be greatly welcomed and appreciated.
“ The 2014/15 GRFU Financial Statements indicate that sponsorships in cash only made up about 1 percent of the funding needs while donations made up about about 7 percent with rest of the income came from the Ghana Olympic Solidarity Fund and Africa Rugby, leaving a massive funding shortfall of 85 percent,” Mr. Mensah said.
He continued to say that various corporates such as Accra Brewery, DHL, Interplast, T-Best, Vodafone, Voltic and Wishbone Company made contributions in kind that are hugely welcomed and appreciated by the GRFU but a lot more cash and in kind contributions are needed to balance the books of Ghana Rugby.
Mr. Rob Oram made a committment to discuss the situation with his colleagues and will revert with a strategy and plan on how the ARC in conjunction with the GRFU can mobilise the expat community support the development of Rugby in Ghana.
Mr. Steve Noi said that the GRFU will support the ARC in its efforts by providing sponsorship guidelines and proposals that can be used the the expat community.
On the issue of the transfer of knowledge and skills from the ARC and the expat community to other clubs and youth development initiatives Mr. Mensah said that although he recognises and appreciates contributions made by the ARC in the past he believes that a lot more can be done by the expat community in the interest of the development of Rugby in Ghana.
Mr. Rob Oram said that the ARC has made contributions by means of knowledge and skills transfer to some other clubs but agreed that more can be done and again promised to discuss this issue with his colleagues and revert with suggestions on how the transfer process can be expanded.
On the issue of negative perceptions about the ARC by the Rugby Family in Ghana Mr. Mensah said that perceptions in the minds of the perceivers are the truth to them even though the ARC may think otherwise.
“The GRFU will join hands with the ARC to change the current negative perceptions but it must be backed up by tangible and visible proof of the integration of the ARC into Ghana Rugby through its contributions and programmes such as youth clinics that will benefit local youth in the community,” Mr. Mensah said.
Mr. Rob Oram tabled the concerns of the expat community about certain rules of especially participation by foreign players in the Ghana Rugby Club Championship (GRCC) and said that it is a demotivational factor to those expats who would love to take part in competitive tournaments.
Mr. Oram said that although they understand the development philosophy underlying these rules he would like the GRFU to reconsider the restrictions on foreign player participation in the light of the knowledge and skills transfer objective and in the light of the development stage of Rugby in Ghana.
“We are convinced that greater participation by foreign players at this stage will be more beneficial to the development of Rugby in Ghana and that the situation can be reviewed from time to time,” Mr. Oram said.
Mr Mensah said that he will discuss the issue with the Tournament Organisers of the GRCC who are the makers of the Tournament Rules and see if a transition strategy can be considered in the light of the promised greater participation by the expat community.
“Such consideration will not be a situation of “you give and we will give” but rather a consideration that is based purely on what is the in the best interest of development of Rugby in Ghana,” Mr. Mensah said.
The meeting concluded on a positive note with both parties expressing their commitment to always put the interest of Rugby in Ghana first.
The President of Ghana Rugby, Mr. Herbert Mensah, and Mr. Rob Oram from the Accra Rugby Club met to discuss issues of cooperation in the interest of the development of Rugby in Ghana.
Mr. Steve Noi, Tournament Commissioner of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) took part in the discussions with Mr. Rob Oram about closer cooperation to the benefit of the growth of the Rugby Family in Ghana.
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