The agitation by some Premier League clubs and members of the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) over their share of the StarTimes sponsorship has resulted in the last minute cancellation of this weekend’s gala to usher in the new season.
At a hurriedly arranged meeting between the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Premier League clubs Tuesday, it was announced that the new media rights sponsor, StarTimes, had requested that the re-introduced two-day gala scheduled for Kumasi be called off.
Though details of the StarTimes letter was not revealed by the vice president of the GFA, George Afriyie, who made the announcement, it is believed that the undercurrents of concerns raised by GHALCA which had dominated media discussions regarding the actual contract sum for the gala, as well as inadequate publicity over the event, compelled the Chinese company, which has a 10-year media rights deal over GFA’s brands, to chicken out.
The announcement drew some tense silence among the club representatives who attended the meeting and were not sure if StarTimes had breached the contract.
Most of the club representatives who spoke with Graphic Sports thought, perhaps, the issues were overplayed in the media, and StarTimes, unsure of what the consequences could be, decided to call off the gala, considered an important pre-season shake-up for the 16 participating clubs.
“It is unfortunate, but the decision and announcement have been made. Some of us were ready for this weekend, but as it is we now have to look for alternative plans to prepare towards the February 4 kick-off of the league,” a club official who had turned up for what he thought was a normal PLB meeting in his club colours, told the Graphic Sports.
Per the StarTimes sponsorship package, $60,000 was slated for the gala, but last Monday, 12 Premier League clubs mandated GHALCA to pursue the issue, claiming the original amount announced by the FA president was $100,000.
GHALCA also requested the FA to make available details of the contract signed with StarTimes.
According to the strategic partnership agreement, StarTimes acquires all media rights of the Ghana Premier League, the Gala, the National Division One League, the MTN FA Cup, the Ghana Women’s League and the Ghana Juvenile League for the next 10 years.
StarTimes will pay $17,950,000 for the deal, provide ten artificial pitches and a fully equipped modern OB van to the GFA over the next ten years.
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