Liberia President George Weah has made a bold claim regarding the future of sports, including football, in Africa after the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has put a countless number of sporting events on hold while some football leagues have been abruptly concluded and others are awaiting government approval to properly end their respective tournaments.
Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Gambia are some African countries who have cancelled their leagues without completing the games in a season.
Among the continental tournaments on suspension is the 2020 African Nations Championship, which was initially scheduled to take place in April in Cameroon.
President Weah is aware of the economic challenge coronavirus has brought to the world at large, and he fears clubs will collapse while many leagues won’t be unable to kick on again.
He also called for global funding to support the sports industry during these uncertain times.
“The lifeblood of sports consists mainly of attendance fees and sponsorships – where these no longer exist, many clubs will collapse and many leagues will close permanently,” President Weah was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
“It is my considered opinion that the future of sports in Africa after Covid-19 is bleak, and is not guaranteed to recover. There will be an urgent need to resuscitate football and other games.
“Health and recovery of our economies take absolute priority, however, it is important that the global funding being raised should recognise the social importance of sport.”
The 53-year-old enjoyed a successful playing career as a footballer with stints at Monaco, PSG, AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City and Marseille before delving into politics.
Weah won the African Footballer of the Year award thrice – 1989, 1994 and 1995, and he remains the only African player to have won the Ballon d’Or, in 1995.
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