Beware the Ides of June & COVID-19

If there is a tragedy that has brought the sporting world to its knees, then it obviously is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The deadly plague has managed to disrupt major sporting events across the globe in a manner that has left everyone devastated. The major European leagues, which attract global viewership, were no exception to the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over two months after the glamorous European leagues went on hiatus, the Bundesliga will make a triumphant return this weekend. The German league is returning because the country now has a low COVID-19 mortality rate due to its best responses to the pandemic, much like South Korea, whose soccer league was able to return last weekend.

South Korea has been praised for early diagnosis, early quarantine and rapid response.

However, the enviable game of football will no longer be the same due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Football during this period will be played in empty stadia, and with the football players practicing strict social distancing protocols in a game that is renowned for contact.

It seems like the best way to salvage the respective sporting seasons is by playing games in a way that is alien to us.

Indeed, the world’s eyes will be focused on the German Bundesliga to see how it wriggles its way through the COVID-19 shackles. The other major leagues will be taking notes as they prepare to restart theirs.

Ghana must also be a close observer of the German initiative, since we also have our league hanging in a limbo.

The Chronicle has noted that the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kurt Edwin Simeon Okraku, has hinted that a definite decision would be taken on the 2019/20 league season on June 30.

A Graphiconline report said this would be after the GFA Executive Council had adequately consulted experts on whether to annul, truncate, or continue with the league.

According to the GFA Boss: “We have not decided yet to annul the league. The Executive Council met a few days ago to consider all the possibilities, after which we issued a statement that we will continue to work closely with the government and the Health Ministry to see what the turnout would be.

“Beyond that, we gave ourselves a deadline of June 30, by which time the council will meet again to take a definite decision as to whether to continue with the league or truncate or cancel it under the circumstances within and outside the shores of Ghana,” he explained.

Mr Okraku said he had been working closely with the GFA Medical Committee to consider the various scenarios, and to arrive at a positive conclusion. He also revealed that he had taken custody of protocol guidelines from countries which had decided to continue with their leagues, as well as those who have cancelled theirs, and had handed them over to the Medical Committee to study and advise the GFA accordingly.

It is in the light of the above that The Chronicle wishes to advise the Ghana Football Association and other sporting associations to study the German example to be able to chart a correct path for our sports. From now till June 30 will be enough time for concrete decisions to be made as to the way forward for Ghana sports.

The significance of the end of June and Coronavirus has being popularised by a Ghanaian comedian whose COVID-19 video recently went viral on social media.

As a result, the month of June has become the apocalypse of the COVID-19 pandemic, just as the month of March (Ides of March) marked a turning point in Roman history.

The Chronicle will like to take a cue by advising that by the end of ‘June dierr’ Ghana sports should be up and kicking.

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