By Sikiru Obarayese
The rot in the state of Osun Sport Council seems to have become a norm, as some top echelon of the management allegedly soil their hands in scandal surrounding the non-release of fund meant for the use of athletes.
It was gathered that the management of the sport council in conjunction with some officials of the Sport Ministry is denying athletes their basic rights.
It was gathered that the cash reward meant for athletes who participated in the national under 15 championship since January this year was never released to the supposed beneficiaries, as the management disclosed that the Ministry did not release the money months after it was release by the government.
Findings showed that the state athletes who participated in the event and won medals were given cash reward by the government, however, rather than releasing the money, some officials converted the cash for personal use and gave part of the money to the purported beneficiaries.
However, a source said, the coaches who took the athletes to the competition have been under intense pressure to release the remaining amount of money totaling about N720,000 to the athletes, whose parents have been disturbing some of the affected coaches.
It was gathered that whenever the matter came up for discussion, the management, findings revealed, always put the blamed on the Ministry’s officials, who according to them refused to release the remaining money.
Checks also showed that the affected coaches have protested the matter at different times to no avail as the management resorted to threatening anyone who bothers to discuss the matter.
However, last week, the sport coaches union took over the matter after a protest organised by performing athletes and coaches to protest the non participation of the state team at the just concluded National Sport Festival elimination in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Union, having heard that the money was borrowed among the council’s management, locked up all the offices with a threat to take the matter to the state secretariat if the money was not released immediately.
It took the intervention of some of the union leadership to avert what could have become a public protest to allow the affected individuals to return the money within seven days.
It was alleged that some of the alleged officials ‘involved in sharing the money’ were the Directors of Finance and Administration, Training and Coaching among others.
As at the time of filing this report, the medium gathered that all the affected officials have returned the money within their reach and the money given out to the affected coaches for delivery to the beneficiaries, who had been denied their right for over six months.
Investigation further revealed that the state sport council is the only one from the south-west zone which did not participate in the just concluded elimination as a result of lack of release of fund as claimed by the council management.
The medium was informed that the state government had approved the file for the games ahead of the schedule date but yet to release the cash which spun the athletes to protest the decision of the sports’ council management.
One of the athletes who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER disclosed that the management had in previous times got alternative means of sponsoring athletes and later recoup their money when government release fund, but this time, the management even blocked some of the games association willing to register their athletes for the game.
The state basket ball association was said to have been ready to register its players for the game but upon calling the state by the organisers, they were told not to register anyone from the state as doing so would be illegal.
The medium gathered that the management was avoiding a situation where athletes would return from the game and be demanding for a refund of their money and requesting for their allowances as well.
A source within the management revealed that the money would not be diverted but would be used as camp allowance for other atheletes that would be going for the main games in Abuja later in the year.