Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) will provide a stimulus package for athletes as part of its support to individuals and groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah has disclosed.
Addressing the media to provide details on President Nana Akufo Addo’s ease of restrictions with regard to sports, he said, the package dubbed “Youth in Elite Sports for Ghana” would subsequently be launched to provide the needed mitigation stimulus to abate the economic impact on their preparation.
“Plans are far advanced to secure funds through the YEA to support athletes across the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate their plight,” he stated.
The impact of the pandemic on sports, he said, cannot be underestimated, adding that, athletes especially should be supported during these crucial moments.
“Sports help to maintain peace and unity while ensuring the psychological well-being of participants as well as other necessary benefits,” he noted.
He explained that, President Nana Addo conveyed a meeting with Ministers to ascertain the impact on each sector which informed the need for athletes to be supported.
“The main focus is on the athletes but subsequently we would consider other areas of interest to enable sports activities to resume gradually,” he stressed.
He reiterated that, non-contact sports could resume with respect to social distancing and other health protocols as they looked forward to further ease the restrictions for other sports disciplines including football to restart.
“Restrictions on contact sports like fencing, football, boxing, karate-do, kickboxing and wrestling are still in force and must be adhered to,” he emphasized.
MOYS and the National Sports Authority (NSA), he said would ensure the enforcement of the restrictions through with a combined security team and urged federations to simply adhere to the restrictions to ensure the safety of athletes.
Meanwhile water sports (swimming) which hitherto, were not included among the non-contact sports allowed to resume, have been added.
For golf, however, he directed that golfers not to engage the services of caddies.
“That would be a bridge of the social distancing protocols so golfers must carry their bags themselves to avoid other hands on their clubs and other items which could lead to the spread of the virus,” he stated.
He was optimistic Ghana sports would return to normalcy very soon if stakeholders adhered to the safety measures outlined.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE