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Covid-19: Ghana sports minister Asiamah reveals financial challenges

13:45 BST 03/06/2020
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The government official sheds light on the setback to efforts in ensuring a comeback for the sport 

Ghana sports minister Isaac Kwame Asiamah believes the financial cost of football matches during the Covid-19 months remain a setback to hopes of seeing the sport make a prompt return.

All football competitions, including the Ghana Premier League (GPL), has been on hold since a ban on public gatherings came into force in the West African nation on March 15.

With some national leagues around the world making a comeback after a similar coronavirus-forced suspension, there have been increasing calls for Ghana to follow the growing trend.

Indeed the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has held talks with the national government about the possible resumption of the sport but the proposal was turned down.

"We have had several engagements on the way forward for our football," Asiamah said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

"I charged the director, the NSA [National Sports Authority] boss [Peter Twumasi], to look at even playing it [football] in empty stadiums across the country and the [financial cost] figure he quoted is a huge challenge.

“It's not only about going to play but putting in place measures to observe all this precautionary measures - how to [safely] keep the players at a hotel and how to also disinfect all the stadiums across the country.

"Not only that, testing is key, we need to test each player. And in our environment is it possible to play football without supporters? It is a major challenge so these are the issues we are considering.

"The figure which came out from the NSA is about GHC60,000 per match, and this is huge. For me, it's not even about the money; it is about the lives of our footballers, how do we ensure that they are safe at these league centres? So it's an issue we are still resolving."

On Sunday, the Government of Ghana extended a ban on all contact sports - including football - until July 31.

The GFA has said it would not decide the fate of the disrupted 2019-20 season until June 30, despite increasing pressure for a prompt resolution.

The league was at the Matchweek 15 stage when it ground to a halt in March.