Misleading! Ghanaian Female Footballers are NOT Getting Pregnant due to COVID-19 Lockdown

A news report published by 442Ghana.com with the headline, “Effects of COVID-19; Our Women Footballers are getting impregnated- Women League Chairperson” has gone viral on social media.

The report claims that the Chairperson of the Women’s Premier League Committee in Ghana, Madam Hillary Boateng, has revealed that a major effect of COVID-19 on women’s football in Ghana is that, the footballers are getting pregnant.

According to the report, which has since been republished on other websites including BrytFMonline, SaltFMonline, Hillary Boateng made the revelation in an interview on Adom FM’s Sports Page 2 radio show on Tuesday night [May 19, 2020].

Fact-check Ghana looked at this story for accuracy of the headline and found it to be misleading.

Explanation:

Ghana has an active women’s football league that has been running since December 2012 but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the league has been suspended.

The Women’s Premier League Committee is a sub-body under the Ghana Football Association that manages all women leagues in the country. The Chairperson is the most powerful person on the committee hence her comments are taken very seriously.

Having women footballers getting impregnated could interrupt the league should it resume.

To verify if she indeed said the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana was leading to footballers getting pregnant, Fact-checkghana.com called Hillary Boateng on phone. In the phone conversation she said the article is misleading and “twisted her point.”

“What I said versus what was sensationally posted and click-baited out there is definitely different. If you listened, I gave advice to the girls concerning staying fit and remaining focused and I threw that in as something I had just heard. It was just one example. It is truly unfortunate,” she said.

We also accessed the full show in which she was called over the phone to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on women’s football in Ghana from Adom FM’s Facebook page.

We have transcribed the full discussion that ensued between the host of the show, Alex Kobina Stonne and Hillary Boateng on that part of the interview below:

Transcription [17mins – 20mins]

Alex Kobina Stonne: What can you say to the women… Some of them picked up very well and many believed this season would have been their season. For you, especially being your first time in office as the Chairperson of the women’s league, what will you say about the developments and moving forward?

Hillary Boateng:For the women, being at home, I know that most of them don’t have access to the equipment they would have had access to if they were with their clubs or in training centers; treadmill, elliptical machine etc. However, in their small enclave, they can use skipping ropes, do sit-ups, and the other exercises that their coaches use to lead them in at the training camp. I believe that they are doing that. This afternoon I heard something and that has made me very sad. I heard that one of the players; I won’t mention her name or club, during the quarantine period, she has been impregnated. This is player who was very promising. I was discussing with one of the club owners. It was during this lockdown period.

It is very disheartening and I have been very sad since I heard it. My advice to the young women is, you are promising, if you have decided carry on with the football, you need to stay focused. Don’t allow any man lie to you.Maybe after getting pregnant for him, you will not find him after getting pregnant. He has destroyed your future. If you want to go on with football, you have a bright future and the national team may call you, so far as you are playing well. Look on the brighter side, and know that this COVID-19 period will pass.”

From the above transcription, we can conclude that the news report is misleading, as it generalized the single example given by Hillary Boateng to suggest that she made an emphatic statement that a significant number of footballers had become pregnantdue tothe halting of sports activities occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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