Saturday, June 06, 2009

Is Ghana's Premier League Borad serious?

The Premier League Board (PLB) has again contrived to make nonsense its avowed aim of aligning the local football calendar with that of the European league.

The PLB has on numerous occasions unduly postponed matches supposedly to make way for national team assignments and the latest case is yet another interesting example.

The 22nd week Glo Premier League matches which were supposed to be played between May 30th and May 31st were rescheduled to June 6th and June 7th to make way for the Black Stars versus Cranes of Uganda friendly at the Tamale Stadium, despite the fact that only four locally based players namely Kotoko duo of Harrison Afful and Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Yeboah of Hearts of Lions and Philemon McCarthy of Accra Hearts of Oak made it to the senior national team.
Such (a) decision(s) would only go to reinforce the belief of the stereotypes that the FA is not really serious with the local league.
There is clearly a regulation that states that clubs can call for a postponement of their matches if they contribute more than four players to the national team at a time.

And to make the situation worse, the PLB has again rescheduled the week 22 matches to make way for the Ghana-Mali 2010 World Cup qualifier at Bamako.

According to a report in The Ghanaian Times of Monday June 1, 2009, the move was influenced by the reaction from “some fans” who want the nation to be fully concentrated on the world Cup clash instead of having to watch a Hearts- Kotoko clash on the same Sunday.

So, why is the PLB not considering playing the league a day prior to the Stars’ clash?

The league’s organizing body recently passed through some amendment during congress to have its name changed from Professional League Board to Premier League Board but nothing much has changed: it’s business as usual.

Decisions like this tend to bring down interest in the local game because people get tired of the haphazard manner in which the game is being managed with no concrete plan to follow.

More so at a time when everybody is concerned with the dwindling fortunes of the local game, such a decision would only go to reinforce the belief of the stereotypes that the FA is not really serious with the local league.

The constant changes also have implications for the fitness of the players. In fact ace coach Emmanuel Kwasi Afranie has complained that he finds it difficult keeping his players together every time the PLB calls for a break in the league bringing to the fore the wider implications on the country’s football future.

According to fitness experts a lot happens within a two week period of lack of activity.

The clubs try to make up for it by playing friendly matches to stay in shape.

The Glo Premier League has already seen two separate two week breaks first to make way for the African Nations Championship in Cote d’Ivoire in February. There was also a break at the end of the first round. The question is: is there really a basis for another two-week break?

Wait a minute! The Division One League Board also called for a month’s break following the end of the first round to allow the disciplinary committee to resolve all cases before it. Sadly after a month, not even one case has been seen to and the second round is due to begin this weekend.

"Is there really a basis for the two-week breaks?"

Elsewhere, football leagues are run with well managed fixtures released ahead of time.

There is the odd case of disruptions due to weather conditions or security concerns but provisions are made to accommodate these challenges.

The football league in England was allowed to go on despite the participation of Manchester United in the recent Fifa Club World Cup in Japan without a fuss.

Is the PLB learning anything at all from these?!

Credit: Erasmus Kwaw