Sports will struggle to recover from COVID-19 chaos – Galadima

Former NFA Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima (2nd left) addressing players of Kano Pillars football club at the Sani Abacha stadium in Kano.
Former NFA Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima (2nd left) addressing players of Kano Pillars football club at the Sani Abacha stadium in Kano.

A former chairman of the then Nigeria Football Association and Patron of Nigeria Olympics Committee, NOC, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima has said the devastating effects of coronavirus pandemic on sports would take a long time to go away.

Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, the renowned sports administrator said the decision by countries and international sports organisations to suspend all sporting activities was taken in the best interest of humanity.

He, however, maintained that sports would suffer the economic consequences for a very long time just as he stressed that athletes who depend on remunerations to carter for their families would suffer more.

“The emergence of coronavirus is something that is beyond sports. It has touched on global economy and this is going to have serious effect on sports and our ways of life.

“If we take what is happening in Europe where clubs are cutting down on players salaries, we would see that it clearly portends danger because these players depend on salaries they draw from football to maintain their families.

“It will also affect future negotiations of new signings and even the possibility of maintaining the agreed remunerations for the players.

“Beyond economic implications, the suspensions would also affect the conclusion of the different football leagues as their calendars have been altered.

“In Nigerian football, it may be a repeat of what happened last season where we had to go through an abridged version of the league to conclude the season on time.

“The difference will be that this time it is a necessity that forced a global shutdown and not what we had the last time which was largely because of inefficient handling of the football calendar,” said Galadima.

Despite the anticipated losses, he said the world has no option than to heed laid down instructions on how to contain COVID-19.

While expressing optimism that the world would overcome the scourge, Galadima also said athletes should prepare for crowded schedule later in the year.

“We have no option but to continue to obey instructions on how to survive the deadly virus so that we can get back to normalcy.

“At the end of the day, it is the athletes who would suffer most because they would have so many competitions to attend within a short period.

“It will be a tight schedule for athletes not only in Nigeria but the whole world,” he concluded.

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