While Ghana may not have recorded as many cases of Coronavirus as other countries, the confirmation of two positive diagnoses has put a strain on the country’s sporting sector.It’s unclear the exact impact this development will have on sports in the country but given the actions taken by other countries with confirmed cases, there is no doubt that a number of activities will be affected.Sporting activities across Europe, in particular, have taken a serious hit since the outbreak of the disease, which has now been upgraded to epidemic status by the World Health Organisation (WHO).The Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese leagues have all been suspended while games in the Italian and German leagues have been played behind closed doors.The Ghana Premier League, Division One League, Women’s League and FA Cup competition might be hardest hit locally.The Ghana Football Association (GFA) stated earlier on Thursday that football matches at all levels in the country will proceed as scheduled.Kotoko recently played at the Accra Sports Stadium when they beat Hearts of Oak 2-1“The GFA has therefore decided to maintain the schedule of all competitions as we continue to liaise with the Government, the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health and follow all national health protocols on the matter.”However, given the confirmation of the country’s first two cases of Coronavirus, that position might be revised.The Premier League is 14 weeks old, with week 15 set to be played this weekend.Large gatherings of people, as are usually seen at football games, are often unwise when dealing with highly contagious diseases like coronavirus.Players and coaching staff are also highly susceptible given the number of people they make contact with travelling across the country to match centres.The Black Stars are also set to take on Sudan in a doubleheader on March 27 and March 31.However, with travel being restricted to and from countries with confirmed cases of the disease, it’s highly unlikely that the two matches will be played, although an official decision hasn’t been taken.The national boxing team, the Black Bombers recently returned from their Olympics qualifying event in Dakar, Senegal which has reported 10 cases so far.Although no members of the team have so far presented with symptoms of the disease, flying out athletes to more qualifying events, particularly in affected countries, given the risk involved might be halted.There are also discussions anyway over the possibility of moving major tournaments, including this summer’s Games, to be hosted in Tokyo, Japan – one of the hardest-hit locations.The World Indoor Athletics competition has already been postponed.
Supermarket Lidl UK is to increase minimum pay in line with the new voluntary living wage rates from 1 March 2017 as part of its ongoing pay strategy.Lidl employees across England, Scotland and Wales will receive a minimum of £8.45 an hour, and £9.75 an hour in London. The pay increase will benefit 5,500 employees.The increase will coincide with the retail organisation’s cyclical review of salaries in March 2017.The living wage is a voluntary, independently set rate, which is calculated according to the basic cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announced the new living wage rates on 31 October 2016.Although Lidl UK is not accredited with the Living Wage Foundation as a living wage employer, the organisation is the first UK supermarket to align its pay with the new living wage rates.Lidl UK increased employee pay in line with the voluntary living wage in October 2015. This contributed to a 20% increase in job applications over the last 12 months.Nan Gibson, HR board director at Lidl UK, said: “We recognise the contribution of each and every colleague within the business and we feel it’s important to celebrate our achievements together. So it fills me with pride that our colleagues are amongst the best paid in the supermarket sector, and it’s absolutely deserved for the commitment and value they bring to the [organisation] every day.”Katherine Chapman, director at the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Lidl’s commitment to pay [its] staff the new real living wage rates is fantastic news and an acknowledgement of what we have always believed and advocated; that it is possible to pay the real living wage if you are a supermarket in the UK.“We would love to see Lidl go further and signal [its] long-term commitment by accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation to guarantee that all sub-contracted staff such as cleaners are paid the real living wage. This will also reassure [employees] that their wages will rise in line with the cost of living every year.”