The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has opted to play next season’s Premier League in a zonal format in order to reduce movement of clubs in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.
The FA’s decision-making Executive Council met and approved the new structure contained in a 17-page draft proposal handed to its constituent bodies for their consideration and subsequent endorsement.
The document, Playing Across the COVID Barrier (A Social Intervention), places emphasis on less travelling by clubs to reduce cost and also help reduce possible infections, especially as matches would be played behind closed doors in line with similar practises across the world in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The modalities outlined in the proposal for a return of football includes the identification of game centres, creation of isolation centres, testing procedures, transportation, among others.
With the 2019/20 season wiped out, the GFA is adopting a zonal format for the new league season which has been tentatively scheduled to begin in October, with the Len Clay Stadium at Obuasi and Nana Agyemang Badu Park at Dormaa-Ahenkro serving as venues for the Northern Zone matches while the Accra Stadium and Cape Coast Stadium host the Southern Sector.
As part of measures to make the stadiums safe for clubs, the GFA has put together safety guidelines in the proposal which places emphasise on live coverage of matches at “television friendly” centres.
The document stated that there should be an isolation facility close to game centres to accommodate stakeholders ahead of a match with all facilities to be disinfected every month.
However, squad list and technical members for matches as well as officials must be submitted to the GFA for testing.
In all, the zonal champions are expected to clash in a play-off to determine the winner of the league.