GFA School: A step in the right direction
In a bid to position Ghana football competitively into the future and take advantage of the huge linkages in the sports economy as seen in the European leagues, the Ghana Football Association has a step towards formalising the football economy.
To this end, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has launched a school to provide practical education to coaches, masseurs, sports merchandisers and agents, referees, team managers among many others.
The training of these professionals will be undertaken in conjunction with some tertiary institutions across the country who already have such theoretical faculties in place.
“Those institutions that don’t have these discipline or courses and faculty, the FA will create content for them, as well as provide the needed theories to be studied, supervised and practiced,” Mr Simeon Kurt Okraku, President of the GFA, noted at a presser to launch the school.
Prior to this announcement by the FA, the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence in Prampram in the Greater Accra Region which was constructed in 2004 under a FIFA Goal Project served as a technical centre and a school for the GFA where stakeholders in football including coaches, masseurs, merchandisers, referees undergo practical training and some theoretical lessons in the sport.
This new school, however, according to the FA, will combine both theory and practical lessons of the game where attendees and participants will receive practical training on and off the field, be attached to football clubs to learn on the job and be internationally recognised and certified by the FA’s Club Licensing Board.
“It is sad that in the current dispensation, a lot of the professionals such as team managers do not know their roles and are not properly trained, so are the masseur, football agents, untrained physiotherapists,” Mr Kurt Okraku noted.
He asserted that for Ghana to join the league of great football nations such as England, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, and create a football economy to benefit all, a properly trained stakeholder was a sine qua non.
The sport is the most funded in the country by the state among the over 50 sporting disciplines.
Historically, athletics dominated football in the country but over the years they have succumbed to the beautiful game due to lack of investment in infrastructure and personnel, and selfish interest by duty bearers.
Now the only sport that successive governments dump all tax payers funds into; it is only fair that the state also derived the necessary benefits from it by way of growth of the sports business which will eventually generate the needed economic activity in the country and create the badly needed jobs.
Importance of the school to football and the economy
In England where the premier league is the most watched and patronised in the world, from the first tier league to the last tier of football in the country, football is well structured and run by the most qualified people, be it administrative or technical.
Coaches must have UEFA licence certificates, agents and managers must be approved by UEFA and FIFA including all other administrative and technical officials.
According to Front Office Sports, a UK-based sports marketing firm, citing a report from Ernst and Young for the league, in 2019-20, the league made a $10.4 billion economic impact on the U.K.
The impact was widespread. London only received 28 per cent of the economic impact — the rest was felt outside the city.
The Premier League supported 94,000 jobs, paying about $4 billion in salaries. Clubs paid $4.9 billion in taxes. Also $2.5 billion went to the supply chain. International fans traveling to Premier League games generated $602 million.
The league, which began in 1992, hasn’t always offered this much to the nation’s wealth. Its contribution has grown about 840 per cent since the 1998-99 season.
If Ghana can have a properly and well-structured foundation for our various football league in the country via the Ghana FA School then we stand a chance of creating jobs and growing the economy using football as the sole tool.