FG rejects Edo’s threat to cancel national sports festival

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The federal government has insisted that the activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Edo state will continue without hindrance.

The federal government was reacting after a threat by the local organising committee that the festival will come to an end on Thursday at 12 pm over the paucity of funds.

But in a statement by Ramon Balogun, assistant director press ministry of youth and sports development, the federal government said it was unaware of any threat by Edo state to shut down the sports festival.

It also urged the local organising committee to formally invite the ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist with respect to the festival.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled,” the statement read.

“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.

“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.

“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.”

In a statement on Wednesday, Musa Ebomhiana, Edo 2020 project manager on media and publicity, had warned that the sporting events will be called off over the federal government’s refusal to provide the state government with funds.

“The Local Organising Committee, Edo2020 regrets to announce that it will end the games abruptly tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021 for lack of funds,” the statement read.

“Rising from an emergency meeting this evening, the LOC says it has to take this hard decision due to lack of funds having expended its reserves to kick start the games.

“Regrettably, the FG is yet to redeem its pledge to support us as the host state financially for the cost of postponements. So, we are left with no option than to end the games at noon tomorrow.”

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