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By Grace Chingoma
Senior Sports Reporter
THE debate, over when domestic football should resume, is expected to hog the limelight tomorrow, when it shifts into parliament.
The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Sports Commission are expected to present oral evidence, on their preparedness, to resume sporting activities, in the country.
The evidence will be presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Sport, during a virtual meeting, tomorrow morning.
The engagement is likely to set the tone on how the parent Ministry, and the sports regulator, will proceed as they juggle with the tricky subject of the resumption of sport activities.
Sport at large, starting from school level to the elite codes, has been in limbo, since the first lockdown came into effect, towards the end of March last year.
Only partial participation, where teams and associations that had international and crucial assignments have been allowed to proceeded with their assignments, has been possible.
Some disciplines, classified as low risk, were given a window to organise their competitions, before everything was halted again.
However, after almost two months of lockdown, President Mnangagwa on Monday re-opened the economy, and relaxed some of the restrictions.
The Sports Commission yesterday issued a statement related to the new developments.
“Further to the communication released on 1st March 2021, the Sports and Recreation Commission wishes to advise that on the 3rd of March, 2021, the Government of Zimbabwe will publish a Statutory Instrument, authorising the resumption of those sports activities to be classified as ‘low risk’.
“The determination of what constitutes ‘low risk’ sport remains the prerogative of the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation (the Minister), as communicated to the relevant National Sports Associations (NSA) by the SRC, including the conditions to which such resumption will be subject to.
“Therefore, procedurally, upon the publishing of the said statutory instrument, the Minister will in the first instance, notify the SRC as to which sport disciplines have been classified as ‘low risk’.
“The SRC will then communicate directly with the NSA concerned notifying its categorisation as a ‘low risk’ sport, and the conditions, if any, to which it should adhere to in resuming activity.
“It shall not be necessary for the relevant NSA, or sports discipline, to APPLY afresh for resumption of activities, after receiving the written notification from the SRC.
“All persons seeking to engage in the categorised ‘low-risk’ sport, must engage their respective National Sport Association for guidance.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no NSA or sport discipline shall resume ANY activity until, and unless, it has received the said communication from the SRC and has confirmed receipt of the same, along with the conditions stated therein.
“The SRC will publish the categorised ‘low-risk’ sport for the information of the general public after notifying the relevant NSAs.
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, prior to this statement, certain sport codes had been given the authority, to either resume training, travel or host certain international tournaments in fulfilment of prior obligations.
“The statutory instrument shall not affect these prior approvals (and the conditions attached to them), unless so determined otherwise by the SRC to the parties concerned.
“As always, NSAs and any affected parties, including multi-disciplinary sports clubs, are encouraged to seek the guidance of the SRC if they are in any doubt on how to proceed.”
During lockdown, only some international sporting activities, were given the greenlight to proceed as scheduled.
ZIFA last month applied, seeking clearance for the game to be allowed to restart, after 14 months of inactivity.