IOC suspends Ghana''s national Olympic committee

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Lausanne (Switzerland), Jan 13 (AP) The IOC suspendedGhana''s national Olympic committee for government interferencetoday, leaving the African country''s athletes in danger ofmissing the 2012 London Games, several members told TheAssociated Press.

The International Olympic Committee executive board tookthe decision after months of fruitless negotiations withGhanaian officials. The members spoke on condition ofanonymity pending an official announcement.

The suspension means Ghana''s Olympic committee will nolonger receive IOC funding, its officials are banned fromattending any Olympic events and Ghana''s athletes are barredfrom competing in the Olympics.

The sanctions could be lifted before the London Games ifGhana complies with IOC regulations and assures the completeindependence of the national body, which has been in turmoilsince a disputed presidential election in 2009.

The IOC has complained in particular that governmentofficials in Ghana are appointing the presidents of nationalsports federations.

Ghana''s Olympic committee was formed in 1952 andrecognised by the IOC the same year.

The country has won four Olympic medals -- a silver inboxing in 1960, bronzes in boxing in 1964 and 1972 and abronze in men''s football in 1992. Ghana sent about a dozenathletes to the 2008 Beijing Games.

Alpine skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, nicknamed "TheSnow Leopard" qualified for last year''s Winter Olympics inVancouver, giving Ghana its biggest Olympic boost since 1992.

Hardest hit by the IOC suspension could be Ghana''sfootball team. The under-20 team is the current worldchampion. Ghana also reached the final of last year''s AfricanCup of Nations and the quarterfinals of the World Cup in SouthAfrica.

Ghana has also been in trouble with football''s governingbody. In December, FIFA gave the Ghana Football Association anultimatum to end government interference in football mattersor face pssible sanctions. MORE AP SSC

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