Covid-19: Blow for Premier League as Ghana extends ban on contact sports 

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Hearts of Oak v Kotoko
Goal Ghana
Sunday's national address by President Nana Akufo-Addo dealt a further blow for domestic football 

The suspended Ghana Premier League (GPL) will not return until at least July 31 following the nation's extension of its ban on contact sports due to the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday.

All football competitions, including the league and FA Cup for both men and women, ground to a halt on March 15 when a ban on public gatherings, including sporting and religious events, initially came into force.

Although some restrictions, such as suspension of non-contact sports, were lifted in the latest nation's address by President Nana Akufo-Addo, the ban on contact sports, on the other hand, was extended.

There have been divided opinions over the future of the Premier League. Whereas a group, including team officials from King Faisal, Berekum Chelsea and Eleven Wonders, wants the 2019-20 football season cancelled altogether, another faction is advocating for a prompt return of the sport, albeit under tight safety protocols.

Calls for a prompt return heightened earlier this month when Germany showed the way in resuming its first and second-tier men's football leagues following a similar coronavirus-induced halt.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has maintained it would wait until at least June 30 to take a decision on the way forward for football as the governing body continues to monitor the national coronavirus situation.

With Sunday's extension development, the chances of football returning in continuation of the current season have been further plunged into doubt.

Recent media reports say the GFA, through the Ghana Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS), has made a proposal to the national government for a possible prompt return of football under conditions such as the playing of matches behind closed doors.

The championship was at the Matchweek 15 stage - with Aduana Stars leading the table - when the competition was brought to a halt.

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At the time, a total of six cases had been recorded. As at Sunday, May 31, the West African nation has registered 8,070 cases involving 36 deaths and 2,947 recoveries. 

Globally, over 6,258,750 persons have been infected, and 373,677 lives lost resultantly.

Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak are the two most successful clubs in the history of the Premier League with 23 and 19 titles respectively. 

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