An estimated number of 5,000 sports personalities could benefit from additional financial package by the government after heads of sporting federations impressed upon the National Sports Authority (NSA) to make a case for intervention by the state to cushion the athletes and their technical handlers from hardships occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already, about 1000 athletes, 500 players in the Women’s Premier League have been supported with a monthly stipend of GH¢500 each for the next six months to alleviate their financial challenges due to the suspension of sporting activities since March.
According to Charles Amofa, the Public Relations Officer of the NSA, when the federations met with the Director General of the NSA, Prof. Peter Twumasi, over the government’s easing of restrictions on contact sports, they proposed, among other things, that the government extended the stimulus package to other athletes who were not considered among the beneficiaries of the first package.
He explained that the meeting was at the instance of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, who tasked the NSA boss to discuss with the federation bosses steps to be taken towards the return to competitions, following the easing of restrictions on football last week.
Prof. Twumasi, he noted, had forwarded to the ministry a proposal for financial bailout for athletes and officials numbering about 4,000 to be considered for financial support until the full return of sporting activities.
The NSA spokesperson said the proposal fell in line with the minister’s initial projections of about 5,000 athletes who could potentially benefit from the government’s bailout.
Mr Amofa explained that the government had pledged to bear the cost of COVID-19 testing for athletes, including footballers, preparing for upcoming competitions.
“Considering the cost of $80 for COVID-19 tests, the government has decided to bear the full cost to enable the athletes to go and prepare for competitions”, he told the Graphic Sports.
The report forwarded to the minister would be considered for a determination of how many more athletes and officials should be given support.