- Violence poses concern beyond stadiums
- Doping continues to leave its mark on Ethiopian athletics
The Ministry of Youth and Sport (MoYS) on Thursday said that the continuing strife and standoff in the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) has become worrisome which is bringing more shame and disgrace to the nation’s football.
In addition to the longstanding disputes candidates, the growing violence in football stadiums pose “serious concerns which even goes beyond the ministry’s role.”
On Thursday, Ristu Yirdaw, minister of Youth and Sports, presented an eight-month performance report before the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) which marked its first regular session after a month-long mid-year recess.
He explained in detail problems which were echoed in a more serious tone from MPs during the question and answer session which came after the report.
The disagreement among delegates started in early 2017. Others argue that murmurs of discontent first erupted, when the list of candidates was announced. The list includes a former president and the incumbent who is looking for another term in office. One point of disagreement on the side of the candidates was that FIFA rules are not being implemented appropriately. Thus, violation of these guidelines was said to have contributed for the postponement of the election.
The minister further mentioned that the earlier election attempt have been plagued with chaos and is still going on until now. With continuous disagreements among those in office, personal jibes among the nominees and the discontent of the general public, has been eroding the already “ailed football”.
Despite several attempts to resolve the erratic disagreements, the country’s federation continues to suffer from unending and protracted proceedings that the Presidential Election of the EFF has not been able to take shape since November 2017.
He also indicated that the national stadium, which is under construction by a Chinese construction firm with a total budget of some Birr 2.47 billion, has achieved 69 percent of its completion.
Citing stadiums’ construction, Ristu said that the ever-growing interest and passion of the people for the sport is being complimented by government’s commitment in spearheading the growth of the country’s football and the sports in general.
However, he said the government could do nothing to interfere in the precedential election process except contribute as a facilitator to help them conduct a free and fair election.
“We have no stake in its structure. We are not even a member of the Federation. Only regions and clubs are members of the association. Hence, we are not allowed to step in its structural and operational matters. We also have no desire to interfere in its structure since it is a very sensitive sector which is already under the close monitoring of FIFA and international bodies,” he said.
Other officials, who joined the minister in the House, on their part underlined the concerns highlighting how this violence has come about with worsening threats they describe as “unwanted” kinds of inter-state as well as intra-state violence.
They also cited violence which involved Amhara and Tigray regional states.
This type of violence has also been spotted various times among the same regions, zonal and woreda administrations, according to the ministry.
Apart from the ailing football, the minister has also highlighted similar developments and critical challenges that his ministry and responsible institutions have been dealing with other major sport sectors over the past eight months.
Among the major ones, the athletics has seen mixed feedbacks. Doping remains to be a grave concern despite positive measures of anti-doping undertaken. Ristu said.
The minister has also explained the types of anti-doping measures that have been taken which include: increasing doping control officers, identifying major sporting activities that are highly vulnerable for doping, awareness raising and other related activities.
In addition, he told the House that urinary and blood tests from some 604 athletes were taken. Out of the stated number of diagnosed, test results found doping substances in six of them. As a result, one of the six athletes with a positive result has already been barred from participating in any kind of sport for four years while further investigation is underway against the remaining five athletes, according to the minister.
He also pledged the government’s continuous effort with international organizations to curb the vulnerability of the country’s athletes due to this enhancing substance which is highly monitored by the global sporting body.