Our league deserves the best shot from all.

In defence of the PLB

Jerome Otchere

Posted on: Wed Aug 31, 2016

The Honourable Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye managed to get all of us talking throughout last week about the Ghana Premier League and its attractiveness or otherwise. The Minister, in an interview with Asempa Sports said, the Ghana Premier League wasn’t as attractive as it should be. That view, expressed by the Sports Minister was reported by almost all online news outlets and radio stations nationwide. 

I didn’t listen to the programme on Asempa FM I however read quotations attributed to him and one of the reports I read didn’t present the Minister’s quotations as clearly as the man put them out, therefore giving the impression that, the Minister made a categorical statement that, our league wasn’t or isn’t attractive. 

This is not an attempt to teach journalism but it’s worthy of note that, we always report or quote authorities appropriately otherwise we run the risk of misinforming, misreporting if not misrepresenting these authorities to create wrong impressions for our audience. Having made this point, let me move on to address the substantive issue. 

For many, once the honourable Minister didn’t make a blanket statement that, our league is unattractive, it was rash for the Premier League Board (PLB) to respond with their lengthy press release; detailing why the Minister was palpably wrong. The Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantakyi subsequently in a Starr FM interview reacted to the Minister’s claim among other issues, saying that, Hon. Nii Lantey’s remarks were unjustifiable. 

In my view, the PLB didn’t rush. Their quick response was necessary. Their brand, no matter how it is, had been unfairly touched – perhaps by the highest sports authority in the country and that, any remark by such authority, particularly if it was disapproving couldn’t be glossed over. That’s why I see the PLB’s immediate response as one that was appropriate and timely. 

“Any enthusiastic follower of the Ghana Premier League will firmly disagree with the Minister's claim that the league is unappealing. The PLB wishes to put on record for the information of the Honourable Sports Minister that, the GPL is the most attractive sporting product in the country, in terms of organization, quality, patronage and media coverage” said the PLB’s statement.

“As the torchbearer of sports development in Ghana, the PLB expects the Minister's public comments to inspire investor-confidence in football” it added. I will reiterate that point. No matter how genuine the Minister’s observation was (and still is), his remarks, because of the high office he occupies, should be the type that do not impair the image of our league. 

As the PLB noted, a good part of revenue from league matches are paid to the Sports Ministry through the National Sports Authority (NSA) which the NSA normally uses to maintain the various stadia in the country besides funding some of their events and activities. Therefore, the best well-placed people like the Minister should do must be to help make the league better. In that regard, the mutual benefits will be bigger. 

Knowing the challenges the GPL face vis-à-vis the strenuous efforts football clubs in the country have been making to survive; I will be the last person to say that, the current situation is desirable. It’s not. Yet if I have anything to offer to improve the situation, mine would be to make outsiders see the good attempts our clubs are making and why they need more support. 

It’s now so common to find people who claim to be passionate about the domestic league making so much noise about the fact that, our Premier League has no headline sponsor. They say that to give the impression that, without sponsorship, our league is a useless competition. 

I’m not saying we shouldn’t report or comment on the good things absent in our league. I’m only arguing that, we serve no one’s interest but rather destroy what’s already in our hands anytime we become so caustic about the league, to the extent that, some people can’t see anything good in or about our national competition. 

I’m not saying we should glorify mediocrity. I’m rather reminding us, in conclusion that, with how far we have come; there’s more we can do if we remain optimistic about our national football league. 

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