Seven NSAs, counting basketball, ask IATF blessing to reboot respective programs
Keen on springing back into action, seven national sports associations (NSAs) are seeking the blessing of the government for their athletes to get back into playing.
High-ranking officials of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa), Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) will ask the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases for a one-month trial training period to reboot their respective events.
Also asking permission are the top officials of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), Karate Pilipinas (KP), Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) and the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP), all of them collectively offering a set of safety and monitoring guidelines to keep their athletes and coaches safe from the coronavirus.
Patafa president Philip Ella Juico said the group would send the request through the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), their mother organization, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the government agency for sports.
“If everything goes well during that one-month period, we will request that the permit be extended for another month or so until regular competitions are held, say, by early September,’’ Juico said.
He explained that regular competitions can be held even under closed doors or with limited capacity restrictions.
Philippine sports was effectively shut down since March 16 when the government imposed community quarantine measures on the entire country in an effort to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
Despite the absence of a vaccine, quarantine rules have been relaxed lately to prevent financial hemorrhage among local businesses with the government enforcing strict health and safety protocols.
“The main impetus behind the informal gathering is to draw attention to the fact that our athletes will be left behind in world rankings and to build on each NSAs successes in the 2019 [Southeast Asian] Games,’’ Juico said.
Also present during the online meeting were PFF president Mariano “Nonong’’ Araneta, GAP president Cynthia Carrion, KP president Ricky Lim, SBP executive director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios, LVPI secretary general Ariel Paredes, PRFU secretary general Ada Milby and rugby official Jake Letts.
“We are about to squander the momentum we created. We will recommend that the PSC, in coordination with the POC, conduct a similar dialogue with a larger group of NSAs,’’ Juico said.
According to Juico, Araneta cited the fact that Spanish and German leagues (in countries with high incidence of COVID-19) have been allowed to hold competitions while Vietnam’s football league is now playing before fairly huge crowds. INQ
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