The founder of Kumasi-based King Faisal Football Club, Alhaji Karim Gruzah, has urged the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to be cautious in lifting the suspension on the Ghana Premier League (GPL) following the rate of infection of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
He told Graphic Sports Online that restarting the league at a time the pandemic had been surging at an alarming rate would not only put the lives of players, officials and club owners at risk but could also erode the gains so far chalked up by the competition.
“Those who are clamouring for the league to start because some European leagues have started are oblivious of the fact that facilities in Europe cannot be compared with what we have in Ghana, hence the need to hold on to the suspension of the Premier League until the infection rate of the COVID-19 comes down drastically,” he advised.
He noted that each of the leagues that had started in Europe has packages in terms of sponsorship that catered for the welfare of players and team officials, so without any gate fees, they could play in an empty stadium.
These lucrative sponsorships in Europe are totally absent in Ghana so how can we play our matches in empty stadiums as is being done in Germany, England, Italy and Spain?” he questioned.
According to Alhaji Gruzah, when the Germans started their league almost a month ago, players were transported to the stadium in three buses in compliance with the social distance protocols, with other players travelling to the stadium in their own private cars.
“But he noted the same cannot be practiced in Ghana due to the financial challenges affecting participating teams in the league.”
On testing of players and officials before matches, Alhaji Gruzah said that came at huge with a cost, while questioning how teams which participate in the GPL could bear the huge cost involved as it pertains in Europe.
“Before any match is played in Europe, players are tested at a cost. Do we have such facilities in Ghana and are we ready to bear the cost of testing players and officials of each team before each match?”
He refuted claims that he had taken such a position because his team might be demoted when the league resumes, insisting that Faisal had recruited seasoned players to transform the team.
“In Africa, none of the leagues has started so why should Ghana be in a hurry to start the league at a time the infection rate of COVID-19 is becoming alarming?” he wondered.