Coronavirus arena: Football leagues suspended across Africa

This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.

The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is much lesser in African countries that have recorded cases as compared to for example Italy where the entire country is almost in a lockdown.



The impact on gatherings is an area that most African governments have moved to control. From the playing of football matches behind closed doors, the banning of scheduled sports events and even in the case of Kenya banning athletes from leaving the country.



Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.



Eight countries suspend football leagues



Ghana became the eight African country to have its football league suspended after the president announced a ban on public gatherings on Sunday evening.



Shortly after, the football association in a statement said it had suspended all football competitions across the country. “Public gatherings are banned in Ghana. Funeral gatherings shouldn’t have more than 25 people,” President Akufo-Addo announced.



Algeria became the seventh African country on record to have suspended its league on Sunday. The measure forms part of nationwide lockdown on sporting competitions.



Other countries that have suspended football competitions officially are: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, DRC, Gabon, and Sudan. The South African league body said it was meeting to decide on a way forward after President Ramaphosa announced a ban on public gatherings.



Meanwhile the continent’s football governing body, CAF, and the world body, FIFA, have all advised that competitive fixtures be suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.



Statement: FIFA recommends all international fixtures be halted



In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April.



The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities.



FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.



To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.





CAF postpones AFCON qualifiers





CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures



While the World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus has moved from epidemic to pandemic status, more worrying than ever, the Confederation of African Football has decided to maintain the programming of all its competitions, namely, the qualifiers for the CAN 2021 scheduled for 25-31 March, and the CHAN 2020 to be held from 4 to 25 April.



A decision taken on the basis of daily reports from the WHO, which prove that no African country to date has been declared high risk contrary to the evolution of COVID-19 worldwide. 



Present in a dozen countries of the continent with 111 confirmed cases, the pandemic is advancing at chameleon-like pace in Africa while there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases worldwide with thousands of deaths.



Some countries, such as Kenya, have travel restrictions in place for sportsmen and women, which for sure could reduce the participation of some key days that national teams might need to win matches during the qualifiers for the AFCON 2021. Under these conditions, is it still possible to organise these competitions?



The spread of the Coronavirus in recent days has compelled several countries on the continent affected by the COVID-19 to take drastic measures.



This is the case of Algeria, which has cancelled all public events, especially sports. Morocco has decreed that all future football matches will be held behind closed doors. The same goes for Egypt.



Statement: Kenya Athletics issues directives



Following a directive from the GOK (Government of Kenya) and due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, AK has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes & athlete support personnel until further notice.



In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication. We apologize for any inconveniences caused.



Statement: World Football Summit postponed due to coronavirus outbreak



In the light of the ‘COVID-19’ outbreak, which has been officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have been forced to take the difficult decision to postpone the celebration of WFS Africa, scheduled for March 17-18 in Durban, South Africa.



After closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus outbreak and assessing the risk to our visitors, we have concluded, together with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, our Main Partner, that this is the only way to guarantee the well-being of all our visitors.



During the last few months we have strived to put together an event of the caliber that the African football industry deserves. We were extremely excited with our first-ever African summit and looking forward to welcoming the continent’s most relevant leaders and stakeholders. This decision is heart-breaking for the WFS team.



We want to thank all our speakers, business partners, exhibitors, delegates and members of the media for your enthusiastic support and apologize for any inconvenience. We would also like to underline the solid leadership demonstrated by the South African government and the crucial guidance provided by our Main Partner, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.



We look forward to continue growing our partnership in order to build the best possible platform for the African football industry to meet. We will keep monitoring the situation closely while exploring options to reschedule WFS Africa for July-August 2020 depending on the global evolution of the outbreak. Further details will be confirmed as soon as possible.



March 11: FIFA reschedules Congress in Ethiopia



Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has rescheduled its 70th Congress that was scheduled for May 2020 at the African Union’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The event has been moved to September 2020 in Addis Ababa.



An official FIFA statement issued on Wednesday (March 11) read in part: “On account of the spread of COVID-19, numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events.



“Concerns over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries, have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many such events in various parts of the world.



“Mindful of this, and given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress from Friday 5 June 2020 to Friday 18 September 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”



In June 2019, FIFA announced Addis Ababa as host of the gathering of world football governing body’s supreme legislative body, the FIFA Congress. The announcement was made at the end of the 69th Congress which took place in the French capital, Paris.



“In addition, the FIFA Council meeting planned for Friday 20 March 2020 has also been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June-July 2020 at the Home of FIFA in Zurich or via video conference,” the statement concluded.



Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Rwanda, Gambia quit as Burundi resumes [Football Planet]

End of the season on mainland with the list getting longer.

End of the season on mainland with the list getting longer. The Gambia and Rwanda quit after more than two months. Meanwhile, Burundi has resumed and Tanzania is expected to follow soon.

The African transfer market is under threat over COVID-19 and fears of a financial crisis. The stoppage of competitions is a hard blow for clubs, footballers and player representatives. We speak to a players’ agent, Adama Ndiaye.

And will the 2022 Worlc Cup in Qatar be as attractive as hoped? Qatari authorities are trying to reassure the world. They’ve promised an affordable World Cup, despite the high cost of living in the emirate.

Our Wahany Johnson Sambou has the details of these and more on this week’s edition of Football Planet.

CAF begins early payments to 32 clubs featuring on continental fixtures

Good news to the clubs featuring this season in African interclub. CAF decided to pay the quotas earlier than expected

Caf release funds to respective clubs

Good news to the clubs featuring this season in African interclub. CAF decided to pay the quotas earlier than expected. A great relief to the teams facing uncertainty linked to the Covid-19.

CAF will soon meet to discuss precisely on the possibility of a continuation of the season.

Senegalese league to resume in November

Senegal is determined to continue the already suspend league to the end of the season. The Federation has scheduled a return to competition in November after a unanimous decision.

Ajax crowned player of the year

The Moroccan striker has been named the Ajax player of the season for the third consecutive year. A nice farewell gift before joining Chelsea this summer.

Libyan golf flourishes with no equipment

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Libya, like many other countries, has suspended sport activities, such as golf, to limit the spread of the outbreak.

Despite the ongoing conflict in Libya, golf enthusiasts in the country have tried to revive the neglected sport.

At the Juliana Golf Course of Benghazi, local tournaments are held on a wasteland, covered with wild grass and stagnant water ponds.

Despite its poor condition, this course is considered one of the oldest in the African continent.

The nine-hole course, which was established by British individuals in the late 1940s, is one of only three golf courses in the country.

But the field suffered negligence when dictator Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969, and stopped the support for golf, which had been a very popular sport at the time.

Despite those cutbacks, the love for golf still exists and some Libyans have returned to practice after a decades-long absence.

Abdelhalim Al-Hwiti was a professional golfer before he became a coach and represented Libya in several world championships, from 1983 to 2015.

He believes that the younger generation has good potential, but the lack of equipment and negligence for this sport makes it difficult for them to achieve their aspirations.

The head of the Libyan Golf Federation in the eastern region, Mabrouk Mohamed, said that, among the biggest problems faced by the federation, are the lack of resources and support from the state.

Mohamed revealed that, although the country is considered rich because of its oil production, the Libyan governments and the Ministry of Sports show no interest in golf.

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Libya, like many other countries, has suspended sport activities, such as golf, to limit the spread of the outbreak.

AP

IFF election: Jacques Anouma eases tensions

Ivorian Football Federation former president has stepped up to try and ease tensions.

As the race to the Ivorian Football Federation presidency heats up, the association’s former president has stepped up to try and ease tensions

In a special message, Jacques Anouma the former head of the federal body FIF drew everyone’s attention to the need for peaceful elections.

He reminded people that sport in general and football in particular rests on the noble value of fair play.

And In Guinea, the Pro League season comes to an end. A decision that could have an impact on the African campaign of Horoya AC, which is due to play in the semi-final of the CAF Cup of Nations. The team’s coach, Lamine Ndiaye, gave more details.

Egypt's Al Ahly pledges to pay players in full

A number of Egyptian Premier League clubs have slashed their players’ wages, including Arab Contractors and Ittihad of Alexandria amid calls for an initiative to mitigate the pandemic impact on the

Al Ahly’s players will not take pay cuts in the next four months despite the suspension of all competitions on the back of the coronavirus spread, the Egyptian giants announced on Tuesday.

A number of Egyptian Premier League clubs have slashed their players’ wages, including Arab Contractors and Ittihad of Alexandria amid calls for an initiative to mitigate the pandemic impact on the sports landscape.

Ahly’s board believes the Cairo club can shoulder the pressure at least on the short term.

“The board reviewed the club’s resources in light of the current suspension and the club’s large monthly commitments and decided the following: Pay the entire salaries of employees and workers at the club so they can fulfill their needs and commitments in these hard circumstances, especially with the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan.”

“Pay the entire wages of players and all staff members in all sports for the next four months starting from 1 April to 1 July,” reads a statement on Ahly’s website.

Ahly’s board will assess the situation again after this period.

Ahly are one of the wealthiest clubs in Egypt. Their budget for the 2018/2019 fiscal year was over 126 million dollars with over 20 dollars budget surplus.

The Reds inked in 2018 a record sponsorship deal worth of 32 million dollars with Presentation for four years. They have also signed a 25 million dollar broadcasting deal, the biggest among Egyptian clubs, that runs from 2018 to 2012.

Football in Egypt has been suspended since mid-march, with several measures taken by the government, including a night-time curfew, to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The Egyptian Football Association said their top priority is to resume the season, yet they are open to all scenarios.

Egypt has recorded a total of 3,490 infections including 264 fatalities until Tuesday .

Agencies