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Zero tolerance for bad pitches ahead of 2023/24 season – GFA Club Licensing Manager warns

The Club Licensing Department of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has indicated that pitches will not be compromised as venue inspections for the 2023/24 football season begin next month.

Clubs know the minimal standards and recommendations for each compliance criterion used to grant a license.

However, most teams have consistently failed to achieve acceptable licensing standards for their separate playing grounds before football seasons.

Season after season, the GFA comes under fire for failing to ensure strict adherence to licensing requirements by approving poor-quality pitches.

The GFA has scheduled the inspection of submitted venues by clubs for August 14.

Julius Ben Emunah, a member of the Club Licensing Department, explained to TV3 what the inspection team would look for.

“Pitch quality is zero tolerance for us; it has to be quality. Artificial or natural, it must be quality. Inner perimeter fencing and tunnel connecting to a befitting dressing room that can accommodate more than 30 people with the necessary furnishings.

“Of course, the venue should also have washrooms and a dedicated place for referees,” he said.

The Ghana Premier League (GPL), Division One League (DOL), and Women’s Premier League are all included in these inspections, along with other national competitions. If standards are not met, clubs will not be granted a license and forced to adopt an approved venue.

“It is very clear no one wants to take away the fact that the support base forms the 12th man of the club on the field of play during your match days.

“And for our wish, we wish that every club played at their home because the ambiance is important to the beauty of the game. With a typical example, I mean to bus fans from Oda to Cape Coast to play your match as Kotoko Royals, apart from the financial constraints, there won’t be that ambiance that you require,” Emunah added.

The 2023/24 football season kicks off with the Ghana Premier League in mid-September.

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