SRC Say Sport Remains On Hold Amid Interactions On Way Forward

THE Sport and Recreation Commission have maintained that sport remains on hold in this country pending more consultations on the way forward.

There are hopes that, when the curtain is finally lifted, domestic cricket could be back in action earlier than football.

The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation have indicated some sporting disciplines were keen to resume their activities as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The SRC confirmed last night consultations were on going but, for now, sport would remain on hold in this country.

“The Sport and Recreation Commission wishes to advise members of the public that the prohibition of sport and recreational activities has NOT been lifted at all,” the SRC said in a statement.

“Presently, and pursuant to a directive from the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, SRC is undertaking a consultative process with all the registered national sports federations falling under its jurisdiction regarding the POSSIBLE staggered resumption of certain activities under terms and conditions to be agreed.

“This consultative process has not yet been completed.

“At its conclusion, the appropriate recommendations will be made to the Ministry for its further consideration.

“Therefore, pending any formal announcement from Government regarding the resumption of sport and other forms of recreation, it must be emphasised that all these activities remain prohibited, with offenders liable to prosecution.”

Sport has been frozen across the globe since March following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has reviewed the measures from the total lockdown to Level 2.

And, following wide consultations with their stakeholders, the Ministry of Sport have come up with a comprehensive framework on how to resume activities in the face of the deadly pandemic.

They have classified the sport codes from low risk, medium risk and high risk.

Cricket, swimming, athletics, tennis, golf, rowing, shooting, chess, motor sport and cycling, where physical distancing is possible, are among the low risk disciplines.

Triathlon, lawn bowls, weightlifting and gymnastics have been classified in the medium risk bracket.

But highly physical sporting disciplines, which include football, rugby, wrestling, boxing, basketball, netball and handball feature among the high-risk sport codes.

Here, there is close contact among players which increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The Ministry feels the low-risk category sporting disciplines could be able to resume at the same time after adhering to the Government lockdown parameters.

“Zimbabwe can systematically re-introduce the sporting events after strategically programming and planning for a smooth implementation,” said the Ministry in their strategy.

“The aim is to provide an enabling platform for some sporting codes to hold training, competitions and continue their leagues amid the COVID-19 lockdown, guided by precautionary measures pronounced and being enforced by the Government.

“We aim to work in partnership with our usual stakeholders, including medical experts and those that will be defined essential, when implementing this strategy.

“The Ministry, guided by World Health Organisation COVID-19 mass gatherings sports addendum risk assessment tool, and migratory checklist, devised an elaborated implementation framework that will see classification of sporting discipline from low risk sport, moderate risk sport, high risk sport.

“The Ministry is considering some fundamental key factors that can guide a cautious, practical but smart strategy to re-open local sports and exercise facilities.”

The Ministry said they will continuously assess the risks and engage the Government and health authorities on the way forward.

The stakeholders have been unanimous that health comes first.

Before resumption of sporting activities, the Ministry said there was need to enforce key considerations such as:

“Daily health checks of competitors — temperature checks;

Physical (at least, 1m separation of competitors, officials and support staff);

Thorough disinfection and cleaning after and between competitions;

Sharing of equipment should be prohibited, in particular, ensuring that water bottles and cups are not shared;

Consider safe utilisation of closed containers for all disposable and reusable hygiene materials e.g tissues, towels etc;

Daily symptom checks on athletes and coaches;

Masks, alcohol-based sanitiser and wipes should be made available and ready for use by athletes and officials;

Ensure that athletes wash hands often with soap and running water/sanitizer;

Hand sanitiser station should be available throughout the event;

Gloves should be worn by team and event staff handling towels or laundry in the team environment; and

Athletes should not share clothing or other personal items.”

The Ministry were also lobbying for the opening of Sports Clubs by under strict conditions.

Gyms were still considered to be high risk, due to their nature of operations, and they will not be allowed to open due to the high risk involved.

They will be allowed to submit their proposed plan for re-opening along with other high risk sports codes.

Competitive football returned to South Korean fields, recently, behind closed doors.

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