As soon as the Togo government announced on 15 January that sport could be played once again the country’s football federation said the top two leagues would resume on 30 March.
Like most of the world sport had been put on hold in Togo due to the coronavirus pandemic, with football suspended on 17 March and eventually the 2019-20 season was abandoned on 27 May.
In order to continue the fight against the spread of the virus the Togo Football Federation (FTF) said that all players and club staff must undergo tests before training can resume.
While the clubs are keen to get the delayed 2020-21 season underway they say they simply could not afford it if the FTF insists on regular PCR tests, which according to health authorities cost $50 per person.
“Playing to empty stadiums will hurt the clubs’ pockets – so how are we going to get the financial resources to pay for PCR tests every week?” asked Euzio Avorgan Anani, the technical director of Entente 2, who are set to make their top-flight debut this season.
“You must understand that the tests will need to be done every week before playing a game.
“We have not eve n been able to pay the players in order to retain them while the league has been suspended.
“The federation must assist the clubs, otherwise it will be difficult to start matches.
“We are wondering how to cater for these additional expenditures so we are waiting for the federation to know whether there will be health financial assistance or not because the statement announcing the measures was unclear.”
And the federation’s director of communication Herve Agbodan is also hopeful that a solution can be found so that football can resume.
“We will find a solution that will really help both the clubs and the federation,” he explained.
“We have not yet taken a final decision on the modalities of the tests for the matches of the championship which will start in a few weeks.
“PCR tests will be mandatory before the resumption of collective club training. and the clubs will have to pay for these PCR tests before training.”
Like every other African nation Togo applied to football’s world governing body, Fifa, for a grant from its Covid-19 Relief Plan.
Every member association was able to apply for a grant of up to $1.5m, a third of which has to be spent on women’s football – a ‘key element of the Covid Relief Plan’, Fifa says.
The leading clubs were crowned champions of the 2019-2020 season.