The Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America (ESFNA) took the $300,000 from Sheik Mohamed Al Amoudi with no string attached to it, Ato Dawit Agonafer, ESFNA’s president told journalists in a press conference yesterday at Stadium. In a press conference attended by more than 20 journalists, Ato Dawit Agonafer said ESFNA takes donation from any body, but not allow being hand-twisted.
Asked about why the people reacted so bitterly for the money granted by the sheik, Dawit and the federation’s PR Fasill responded that it is because of Al Amudi’s political affiliation. “Do you take money if granted by Meles?” they say “No, because Meles Zenawi is a political leader.”
Questions also asked why the federation didn’t take stand on the Ethio-Sudan Border, the Ethiopians hunger and Teddy Afro’s case, and the Federation promised to seriously consider it. It was a kind of hard talk but ended with peaceful civil way. ESFNA’s president Dawit Agonafer and public relation officer Fassil Abebe were responding to questions in a very humble way. The move is indeed commandeble and a good step to take corrective measures.
Apparently a $ 300,000 grant from Sheik Al Amoudi had a very adverse effect on the festival. The significant decline of the turnout at the stadium is a major setback. One journalist was heard saying you get 300,000 dollar and you lost 300,000 people.
The other challenge of the federation is its ambitious DC festival which costed $ 1.2 million. The federation got only 300,000 dollar from the Sheik but the remaining $ 800,000 was expected from the public, according to the federation. The expectation was that up to one million visitors could cover the cost. It seems hardly to realize this as the public have boycotted the festival in previous days.
On Friday, (Ethiopians’ Day) the entrance will be $ 20 plus parking fee. Entertainers and traditional and contemporary dancers are expected to perform. The African American, Ethiopian lover Mike-E told to EMF that he will perform today. (Details later)