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Minister Mossa Ag Attaher on the Olympic Committee: “My interlocutor in the management of sports issues outside the State services is the Cnosm”

Referring to the relationship between the Ministry of Sports, the Olympic Committee and the federations, the minister acknowledged that there are confusions in this relationship due to the lack of understanding of the limits, the prerogatives of each other. He explained that this lack of understanding means that if an athlete has problems with bonuses and the like, he seeks to see the Minister directly to explain his problems to him. He did not go with the back of the spoon to specify the role of each other.

I constantly face this kind of problem. And if I don’t receive this athlete in audience, he will shout from the rooftops that I refused to receive him. What people should know, the Minister of Sports is not the interlocutor of an athlete, I am not the interlocutor of a coach, nor of a team. I do not know them. My main interlocutor in the management of sports issues outside the state services is the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Mali (Cnosm). When I arrived at the head of the department, I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that the Olympic Committee is absent from certain discussions relating to sport. We cannot achieve good collaboration, a good partnership with the federations when we are not in close contact with the Olympic Committee, which is the main interlocutor of the Ministry of Sports and the federations.

Things are like that in other countries. When I took service, the Olympic Committee was the first structure I visited. And I explained to the President of the Olympic Committee that I come with an outstretched hand for close collaboration so that he can enlighten us, so that he can guide us to better serve sport and to better serve the federations. Therefore, the first interlocutor of the Ministry of Sports is the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Mali which is, in turn, the reference with the federations to pass on a certain number of subjects on which the ministry must work or must discuss with them. As such, the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Mali is, among other things, responsible for coordinating the activities of the federations and sports groups represented within it; to formulate any opinion and propose any measures aimed at promoting physical and sporting activities, sportsmanship and the fight against violence in sports facilities. Its role is to contribute to the promotion of national representation within national and international bodies and organizations in collaboration with the national sports federations concerned.

The federations are the emanations of several sports associations of the amateur or professional type which are regularly affiliated. The purpose of a sports federation is the organization of competitions or any other form of sports activities in one or more sports disciplines for legally constituted member associations. Which means that everyone has their role that it is good to try to understand. And we stop there. The federations manage the national teams, they manage the choice of athletes, they manage the composition of the players, they manage the call of the players to serve under the national flag. The Minister does not know the players. He does not know why they were called up to play in a team, what are their names, where are they from”, he specified. He praised the excellent relationship he was able to create with the President of the Olympic Committee and the presidents of the federations who accompany them every day in the field of sport.

On the crises within the federations, the minister was clear: “sport is not governed by ordinary courts. When there is a problem in a federation, the Olympic Committee gets involved to find a solution. And when there is no solution, there are courts specific to sport. Unfortunately, the actors of the sport summon themselves to the courts of such and such Commune for a question of mandate, I think that there is problem of comprehension”. He was delighted with his involvement in the return of the lull in the football crisis which had impacted young people. This lull allowed the national teams to go and play in the national championships and in the Mali Cup, in the African Cups.

“The texts of the Ministry of Sports do not govern clubs and do not provide for club funding”

The highlight of the show was the section on the financial burdens of the department concerning national selections, on the bonuses and salaries of coaches and athletes and the football crisis. The Minister jumped at the opportunity to clarify certain financial situations. The Minister specified that in his office, his only references in management are the texts, the law and the regulations.

“After God, I refer only to the texts. I don’t take anyone’s advice. I have documents such as the Interdepartmental Orders governing bonuses and allowances, the Orders fixing the treatment of coaches’ salaries, the Order fixing the prerogatives of the ministry. These are documents that I read before making decisions. In the texts which are not perfect, the State only has the right and the power to accompany the sports federations when it comes to participation in a competition whose main objective is to bring back medals, trophies and other titles. As such, we support all national teams of all sporting disciplines, collective and individual. But, we have in our texts no means and no article nor any orientation which allows us to accompany the clubs. Therefore, the texts of the Ministry of Sports do not provide for club financing. Nowhere do the texts of the Ministry of Sports govern clubs. The clubs are private and as such, the State does not invest public resources in their activities”, he said. But despite this, he acknowledged that clubs matter in building national teams. He said he was a defender of the clubs which also defend the national flag at the regional, sub-regional and African level. Although the financing of clubs is not in the texts, he maintained that the clubs participating in African competitions deserve to be accompanied by the State.

“This is how I proposed to read again the Ministerial Decree who manages the affairs. I will do everything to ensure that there is the maximum capacity to help the clubs. Because clubs are breeding grounds for national teams. If the clubs die, the national teams will die. Because it is not the few binationals who will make the national teams. The majority of our international players have come out of clubs. But, for the moment, the Minister of Sports does not have 5 CFA francs for the clubs”he clarified.

On the financial treatment of national teams, the salaries of national team coaches and the bonuses of athletes, the Minister suggested that there is Interministerial Order No. 2015-1423 Ministry of Sports / MR of May 22, 2015 which deals with these issues. This Order is part of the implementation in the national sports development policy through its strategic axis No. 2. He recognized that the adoption of this Order in 2015 has boosted sports results.

According to him, this same Order governs the bonuses for the senior categories of national teams and their technical staff. The junior, cadet and other categories may receive incentives from the Minister according to their results. “There are bonuses for senior teams and incentives for other lower categories based on their results”he was reminded.

In his answers, Mossa Ag Attaher mentioned the affair of the deaf-mute football team which had hit the headlines. He said that some people have taken over this affair to make it a political affair. “The noise around the deaf-mute football team had no reason to exist. It was an exploitation of deaf-mute misfortune by some people seeking popular fame. At the level of the Ministry of Sports, we were able to find the necessary funds (84 million CFA francs) to send this team to the competition”he explained.

“The payment of bonuses for basketball players who refused to play in Kigali, Rwanda began on Saturday July 30, 2022”

He returned to the inventory of arrears of salaries for coaches and bonuses for athletes. He acknowledged that there are huge salary and bonus arrears. He addressed the case of basketball players who refused to play the World Cup qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda. He informed that the payment of bonuses for these players began on Saturday, July 30, 2022.

The inventory of some unpaid premiums

Athletics: CFAF 30,570,000 representing premiums at the 2017 Conakry West African Championships, the 2019 Benin Solidarity Tournament, the 2019 Niamey West African Championship

– Basketball: 243,850,000 FCFA representing the bonuses for 2019, 2020, 2021. Of this sum, the 57 million basketball players who refused to play in Kigali (Rwanda) have been being paid since Saturday July 30, 2022.

– Football: 269,600,000 FCFA representing the bonuses for the Egypt 2019 championship qualifiers, the bonuses for the matches won in the Can Côte d’Ivoire 2023 qualifiers for which the payment process is in progress.

– Rugby: 10,659,000 FCFAsum for the competitions of the Benin 2019 Regional Rugby Africa Cup.

– Karate: 6,850,000 FCFA representing the bonuses of the Zone II tournaments of 2016,2017, 2019, 2020 whose payment process is engaged.

– Taekwondo: 7,500,000 FCFA for the 2019 African Games in Morocco and the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympic Games.

– Vovinam: 2,900,000 FCFA for Burkina Faso 2019 Africa Cup bonuses.

– Sports arm wrestling: 17,950,000 CFA francs for the bonuses of the African championship Ghana 2018 and the African championship Mali 2019

– Femash: CFAF 102,237,000 representing the bonuses of the competitions of the African championships Mali 2018, African championship Cecifoot Cape Verde 2018, West African football tournament for the deaf Togo 2019, African weightlifting championship Algeria 2019, West African football championship for the deaf Sierra Leone 2020, Cecifoot African championship Niger 2020, Parahandicap Tunisia 2020, handifoot Niger 2020, African football championship Kenya 2022 and Tunisia 2022. The process is underway for the payment of these bonuses.

– Cycling: 8,400,000 CFA francs

– Maracana: 86,000,000 FCFA

– Judo: 300,000 FCFA

– Kung Fu: 2,800,000 FCFA

– Boxing: 96,000 FCFA

– Salaries of national team coaches as of August 27, 2021: CFAF 2,000,068,567 representing the bonuses of 2018, 2019, 2020, of which 1,200,000,000 were paid in one year in 3 installments of 422 million FCFA each. The salaries of national team coaches still to be paid amount to 625,239,000 FCFA.

Siaka DOUMBIA

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