While awaiting official communique from the Ghana Football Association (GFA) probably latest by Monday, June 1, 2020 on the fate of the 2019/2020 Ghana football season, ghanasportspage.com looks into the possibilities available concerning the Ghana Premier League (GPL) as defending Champions Aduana Stars stand a chance of winning their third league title.
At its meeting held on Tuesday May 5 this year, the Executive Council of the GFA decided to extend the league’s covid-19 enforced suspension which has been in force since March 16, and “continue to monitor the situation and would revisit it on June 30, 2020 after a careful assessment and evaluation of the issue and to take further decisions”.
All premier league clubs, division one clubs and football enthusiasts have had their fingers crossed awaiting the arrival of June 30, a date on which the GFA had scheduled to take a stock on the fate of the current league campaign, whether to truncate or end it prematurely and decide the appropriate sporting criteria to use in selecting the two clubs to represent Ghana for the 2020/2021 CAF inter club competitions.
However, the wait seems to have been cut short by the position of government on the state restrictions imposed on public gatherings announced by the President of the Republic on Sunday, May 31 during his 10th Address to the Nation. Government had suspended all public gatherings as a measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic among the citizenry, and this included all sporting events which also led to the suspension of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) for this season after match week 15.
In his 10th address to the nation on Sunday, the President, H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo, despite lifting the bans on some public activities partially, decided to extend the suspension of all sporting activities (contact sports) till July 31, 2020, a time when most of the European leagues will be at their climax.
“I have by Executive Instrument, provided for these new directions, and extended the suspension of the remaining public gatherings, as set out in E.I 64 of 15th March, until 31st July. In here, I refer to the suspension of sporting events, night clubs, cinemas, drinking spots, bars, beaches, festivals, funerals, political rallies, and large religious gatherings such as crusades, pilgrimages and conventions”, the President ordered in his 10th nation’s address.
By implications, the Ghana football season can only bounce back in August or September depending on Ghana’s status in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic. With La liga, Serie A and Premier League set for a covid-19 suspension return on June 11, 13 and 17 respectively, and with Bundesliga currently ongoing with Ligue 1 over, all major European leagues will have ended while Ghana will still be in the process of deciding when to resume the league, modalities to expedite safety and secured playing of matches across all divisions as well as actual date to complete the season. Planning for the next season with that much awaited aim of synchronizing with the European calendar would just become an unrealistic dream.
After match week 15, Dormaa based Aduana Stars currently sit at the apex of the league table with 28 points and followed closely by Berekum Chelsea who have 26. Asante Kotoko and Emina Sharks come third and fourth respectively with 25 points apiece.
The FA Cup competition was suspended just after the round of 64 matches and can therefore not be used in any way to determine which participating club represents Ghana in next season’s CAF Confederations Cup competition. As a result, the FA may be forced to declare the league season ENDED, declare the table leaders champions while using the league table as it stands to determine which clubs to represent Ghana in Africa thereby following the precedence of Ligue 1.
By FIFA regulation and that of UEFA, these decisions should be taken on sporting merits. In this vein, Aduana Stars stand a chance of being declared champions of the league season in the event that the GFA decides to end the season due to time factor and security and safety reasons. Should this be done, the league table shall be used to determine everything and whiles Aduana Stars will be going to play the Champions League, Berekum Chelsea will be returning to continental football with a slot in the Confederation Cup after placing second on the league table.
For now, the government’s decision to extend the suspension of all sporting activities for the whole of June and July is a clear indication that the GFA, should it “revisit the situation” on June 30 as they stated or earlier, would have to give serious considerations to reasons to END or NULLIFY the current league season. This cannot be done without giving considerations to promotion and relegation issues going into the next season should football return fully.
The FA is expected to release an official communique to the public as to what it intends doing next following the new directives from the government. Until then, fingers crossed as Aduana Stars, current leaders of the league table look forward to receiving a joyous declaration of them as champions of the 2019/2020 Ghana Premier League.