Jerome Otchere Writes: Calls To Cancel Football Season Hasty
It is rushed. It is also misplaced. Even uninformed. It baffles me how such calls could be made when all that is being done at this time is to curb the spread of the infection and bring life to normalcy. Football could return depending on how fast that happens.
The Coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19, has succeeded in bringing almost all facets of life on the world stage to a halt. If it is not businesses that have been shut down, it is cities that are being locked down and people being urged to stay home. Health workers and hospitals are sadly being overstretched with the rate of infection seeing no significant decline. Some health workers are losing their lives.
Death tolls are still climbing a sharp steep with dangerous speed in countries like Spain and America. One would have thought that with all these, the psyche of some football people back home, would have been on efforts to stop the spread of this virus. Of course, it is one or two football people who have been heard calling on the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to cancel the season because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
But those calls, no matter how muted, are ill-timed. Except for the Olympic Games and the Paralympics that have been moved to 2021, other sporting events – especially football leagues around the world that were ongoing but were put on hold because of Covid-19 remain suspended – some until the end of April. Why should the GFA rush to cancel our football season?
Our government’s effort to halt the spread of the infection has been in full force. The ban on public gatherings has not been lifted; people in Accra and Kumasi have been at home all week. That is to continue for another week. Infection cases keep rising. The infected are being treated with some recovering. The goal is to stop the spread and until that is done, we cannot relax.
Our football people should not miss the chance to be heard for the right reasons in these times. They should not make calls that do not even conform to FIFA’s own directives lest they lose relevance. The introduction of “FIFA’s Covid-19: Football Regulatory Issues” (dated April 3, 2020) recognises the disruption the infection has caused and while stating that, FIFA is not in a position to “instruct MAs or make a determination on when football should recommence in each country or territory”, FIFA, proceeds to urge MAs to make such decisions on the “advice of their relevant health authorities”.
Per the Covid-19 situation in Ghana, is the GFA well-armed to cancel the 2019/20 season? Has it any data to back such a step? Have our health authorities, whose advice FIFA directs the GFA to seek, given any useful information for such a decision? The answer is no. The voice of our football people should be heard trumpeting the ‘Stay Home’ mantra to stop the virus and save lives. That is more important at this time.