Happy FM, Ghana’s leading sports station, has brought together key decision-makers to discuss what strategies the Ghana sports industry should adopt in response to the current disruption with a knowledge-sharing forum titled ‘The Effects of COVID-19 on Sports.’
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has sent shockwaves around the world, leading to a public health emergency. Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has also disrupted the sporting calendar, with professional leagues everywhere suspending their activities to limit the spread of the virus.
With all that in mind, Happy FM, earlier this week, provided a platform for some key players in the sports industry, like Perry Curtis Okudjeto, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports; Kurt Okraku President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA); and Ben Nunoo Mensah, President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC).
The rest, the Head of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Sports and Culture, Alex Agyekum and Charles Osei Asibey, the General Secretary of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) were brought together to discuss the issues which have bedevilled the sports industry because of COVID-19.
Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Perry Curtis Okudjeto, when speaking about how COVID-19 has affected the sports industry said: “Last year we were at the African Games and at this time we would have been preparing for Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, but because of COVID-19 all our preparations have come to a halt.”
Alex Agyekum the MP for Mpohor and Head of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Sports and Culture in his submission hinted that sports will get a share of government’s COVID-19 stimulus package.
“Sports will be part of the stimulus package to be given out by the government during this pandemic. Sports is keen to the President and definitely, it will come up in one of the stimulus packages,” Alex Agyekum stated.
President of the Ghana FA, Kurt Okraku on his part commended the organizers, Happy FM, for taking the initiative to organise such a solution-finding event dedicated to sports. “We thank Global Media Alliance (GMA) for thinking through and bringing such a concept about our sports. This will go a long way to help our sports,” he predicted.
Ben Nunoo Mensah, the President of GOC, disclosed that “the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of its stimulus package to athletes has extended all scholarship programs that were supposed to end this year to next year before the Olympic Games.”
Dr. Prince Pambo, a specialist physician in sports medicine, on his part advised Ghanaians especially those in the football fraternity to heed to President Nana Akufo Addo’s directives to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“From a medical point of view, the situation is serious and we must take action because it looks like the world is shutting down, this pandemic is not leaving overnight, of course, we are praying for a miracle. As we are doing that, we must also as a country heed to the President’s call and directive to help curb the spread of the virus in the country,” he advised.
Charles Osei Asibey, the General Secretary of SWAG, in his remarks, revealed that the government is in talks with the association to release its clubhouse as an isolation centre. “Government is currently engaging us to offer our clubhouse as an isolation centre for COVID-19 patients in order to help curb the spread of the virus,” he said.
Explaining the objective of the forum, Programmes Manager of Happy FM, Emmanuel Akrumah said: “history was made again today and we at Happy FM are really happy to have initiated another milestone. It can be recalled that we organised the GFA presidential debate a while back, where we gave aspirants the opportunity to engage delegates on their plans for Ghana football.
Out of that debate and subsequent election, began a new phase for the FA. Coincidentally, Kurt Okraku who participated in the GFA debate and eventually emerged president of the GFA was part of this forum. That goes to prove that good initiatives go a long way to benefit society. We love sport and we will always support the industry.”
The Effects of COVID-19 on Sports forum which was carried live on e.TV Ghana, GTV Spots+, Happy Fm and all social media platforms was moderated by Ohene Bampoe Brenya host of Happy Sports and Willy Graham of GTV Sports+.