September 25, 2021

Coronavirus: Ex-Ghana sports minister Yamin criticises government for football suspension 

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The national government has been chastised for doing little to help the sport amid the Covid-19 pandemic 

Former Ghana deputy minister for sports Joseph Yamin has expressed his displeasure at the national government’s lingering ban on football due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All contact sports have been on suspension since Ghana recorded its first cases of the disease in March, a situation that resulted in the cancellation of the 2019-20 domestic football season, including the Premier League (GPL).

While the government has been gradually lifting various Covid-19-induced restrictions, for example the suspension of religious activities and conferencing, football is yet to get an exemption. That said, some national football teams have received special permission to restart training ahead of upcoming international assignments.

“I do not know the patience the government is asking from football people in easing the restrictions on football and contact sports,” Yamin said, as reported by FootballGhana.

“The clubs are struggling due to Covid-19 and the government has not provided any stimulus package for them.

“The government has to invest in football upon its resumption [after this] decision to still put football on hold. The government must be truthful to football people, it [the government] is not ready to invest in football.

“It doesn’t make sense to allow an unlimited number of people for gatherings and church services and still suspend football.

“The [incumbent] NPP [New Patriotic Party] government is just being wicked in the suspension of football. The government is broke and will be exposed upon the resumption of football.”

The domestic football season was initially just temporarily suspended after Ghana recorded its first case of the coronavirus disease in March.

In June, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Executive Council permanently cancelled the season after failing to convince the national government for a possible return of football under tight safety protocols such as the playing of matches behind closed doors.

The Premier League was at its matchweek 15 stage when it was forced to take a break. At the time of its permanent cancellation, Aduana Stars sat top of the league table, two points above Berekum Chelsea.

Football’s governing body has set a tentative date of October for the return of football, subject to the national government’s approval.