Ghana Premier League Management Committee member Eric Delali Senaye is the latest to express disappointment by the exclusion of the sports industry from a Government of Ghana stimulus package for businesses in the wake of Covid-19 disturbances.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Ghana League Clubs Association (Ghalca), through the Ghana Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and its sub-body the National Sports Authority (NSA) had presented a proposal for consideration after the government announced a planned financial boost to alleviate the suffering of businesses in the current challenging times.
It has, however, emerged sports has not been listed as a beneficiary of the tranche of fund released for disbursement.
“We are not asking money for the GFA, we are asking money for clubs who are in the professional league registered as companies and operating as companies under the Ghana Company Code,” Senaye, who is also Inter Allies vice-president, told Joy Sports.
“If all industries are supported [financially], it will not be out of hand or out of order if such help is extended to clubs who are really facing difficulties for the second time in two years.
“The state must have presence in every industry. It is very important for the state to be part of football. Even in Europe, the state creates enabling environment with infrastructure and other facilities for football to grow; the state is key in this our industry.
“If you look at countries like Togo, Cote d’ivoire, Nigeria…[for] Nigeria, out of 20 clubs, about 18 are owned by the state and they [clubs] draw their budget from states or the various state agencies.
“It used to be the same in Ghana when we had Power FC, Ghapoha, and others, but we have not had that in many years now. It is important to have the state involved and there must be a discussion on how to expand the base for others to join.”
Football is the most played sport in Ghana.
The industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic as all competitions, including the men and women’s Premier League and FA Cup competitions, ground to a halt on March 15 when a national ban was placed on all public gatherings.
“It would interest you to know that with countries under Caf, it is only South Africa and Ghana that all the clubs in the top professional league are owned privately by individuals,” Senaye added.
“[However, in] countries like Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’ivoire, Niger, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and so on and so forth, most, if not all [clubs], are owned by the state, various states or a state-owned agency, meaning, they draw budget from the state. So in a situation like this [Covid-19], they are not affected.
“The employees are being absorbed to government payroll, unlike Ghana and few countries like South Africa that in the top league all the clubs are owned by individuals.
“This outbreak is really affecting clubs because even those individuals who operate other businesses to support the game are facing difficulties.”
The Premier League was at the Matchweek 15 stage when it was suspended.