The BetKing Ethiopian Premier League has reached match day 17 but only one game took place during the last couple of days. The reason was the condition of the pitch at Diredawa Stadium ( putting the commonly used international tag wouldn’t be suitable here). Due to heavy rain the pitch has become unplayable and the games have started to look nothing like a football match.
In these conditions it’s clear that neither passing nor shooting is possible. The players will be covered in mud from head to toe and forced to spend more energy than necessary to try and play. Even worse playing under such circumstances can expose the players to injury.
The Premier League company decided on Monday to call off the rest of Match Day 17 fixtures. The league will resume in a different city after the international break following Ethiopian national team’s games against Guinea.
The decision to postpone the games looks like the right call but more should be done to insure quality of playing pitch is in keeping with the standard.
The national team has already been a victim of lack of a stadium that meets the standards set by CAF and as such being forced to play home games away from home ( the latest ‘home game’ will be held in Morocco). And now clubs are being burdened financially because of games not taking place as expected. Furthermore, the fact that the league games are supposed to be shown live on DSTV but aren’t is also another headache for the league company and clubs alike.
Issues with playing pitch should be addressed immediately. The financial repercussions it can have in the league is immense. In addition to that it’s putting the legitimacy of the whole competition under huge question mark.
The Ethiopian Football Federation, Ministry of Sports and Regional Sports Ministers should work together and efficiently to address this issue. Otherwise all the positive strides this league has taken in terms of broadcasting rights, sponsorship and viewership will go down the drain.