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Weeks ago the government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports reported that it was working on enrolling about 1000 athletes on the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) scheme.
According to sources, the decision was to help cushion athletes from the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by enrolling them on the YEA and paying them a monthly stipend of GH?1,000.
The ever candid Director of Sports at the University of Ghana, Dr Bella Bello Bitugu has vehemently disagreed with the move insisting, “it is the wrong strategy.”
He described the gesture as a knee jerk reaction and questioned the fate of these athletes should the COVID-19 pandemic come to an end.
“Till when will the athletes receive the stipend? What will happen to these athletes when the stipends cease? If we cannot sustain them when the virus is over, then that is a problem. We keep giving them stipends and what changes?” he queried
Dr. Bello, however, advised the government to meet with the administrators and various stakeholders to strategize and know how these athletes can be supported throughout their careers and not just focus on the now.
He clarified that he is not against the sports fraternity receiving any stimulus packages from the government but “we need to strategize and let the government know what we need and get them provided to us.” To him, that is the only way to ensure the sustainability of athletics in the country.
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