Sports

Ghana Premier League return shot down

A number of key football administrators have voiced out in disagreement a proposal suggesting the return of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) soon.

President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Okraku, and some Ghanaian football fans are yelling for the return of football, albeit behind closed doors – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the likes of board chairman of the National Sports Authority, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang and owner of premier league side King Faisal, Alhaji Karim Gruzah, haved all shot down that proposal.

Latest to add his voice to the call to wait until the pandemic is over, is former board chairman of Accra Hearts of Oak, Emmanuel Martey Commodore-Mensah.

According to him, bringing back football behind closed doors for cosmetic effect would rather deepen the already worse plight of the clubs than do them any good.

“I have heard many say Ghana should follow the German approach to bring back football. But left to me alone, I would say we should not go that way. Even with spectatorship, our clubs’ finances are nothing to write home about – let alone playing without spectators,” he told Accra-based Asempa FM on Wednesday.

Commodore-Mensah stated that he does not believe the solution lies in what is being suggested.

“If clubs are suffering during this period and would be playing behind closed door, what would be in there for them at the end of the day?  Clearly, their financial situation would never improve so why go that way,” he quizzed.

For him, aside Hearts, Kotoko and to an extent AshantiGold, one cannot write home about any other match that can accrue that much money to pay salaries of players, bonuses and other expenses.

“Football administration is all about money. Some say it is business; in this case, one must take a decision as to whether to go on with the losses or fold up the business to reduce the losses.

“In football, the main income streams here in Ghana are player transfer, sponsorship, television rights and gate proceeds which is the most important. How many teams have sponsors; how many teams transfer players and get monies worth writing home about.

“It is only the gates that survives clubs in Ghana and also club owners dipping their hands into their pocket to support the clubs.”

He said these factors were directly opposite to what pertained in Europe.

“In Europe, the circumstances are different. For them, television rights, sponsorship and transfer of players can cater for their bills; but we cannot follow them and say we are going to play behind closed doors,” Commodore-Mensah stressed.

“Some have also mentioned the government stimulus package; that would only come good if it would be substantial and make up for the supporters income, else we should forget it now.”

BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY

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