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Sports press conference in relation to COVID-19 | 17 July 2020

Sports press conference in relation to COVID-19

From left to right: Mr Cesar, PS Palmyre and Dr Meggy Louange (Photo: Thomas Meriton)

Sports governing bodies urged to submit ‘new normal’ strategic plans


Local sports federations and associations should come up with strategic preparedness and response plans against the backdrop of the coronavirus and the ‘new normal’, while nothing less than a government-approved action plan and related guidance on playing safely will allow them to operate.

Principal secretary for youth and sports Fabian Palmyre stressed on the new measures yesterday, during a press conference at the Sheikh Khalifa Diagnostic Centre to explain the new guidelines, strategies and measures for the resumption of local sports activities which has been described as a gradual process.

So far, only a handful of sports governing bodies have come up with their action plans which need to go under the microscope of the department of health before receiving the seal of approval.

Also present at yesterday’s press conference were project, health and safety manager within the National Sports Council (NSC), Denis Cesar and the director general with the Public Health Authority, Dr Meggy Louange.

PS Palmyre noted that it is important for all federations and associations to go through the proper channel which is the NSC to avoid any confusion or other mishaps during the process.

He explained that since the first cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) were detected locally in March, it forced the temporary closure of all sporting facilities and placed strict limits on the ways people could keep or get active.

This, he said, should not be used as excuses not to exercise as there are other ways and means to work out.

He also noted that over the last few weeks, the department of health has approved the restarting of outdoor sports, within social distancing guidelines, as well as outdoor gyms and playgrounds.

Alongside football action which has already resumed, other team sports can also restart only when their national governing bodies have secured a government-approved action plan and related guidance on playing safely.

As project manager, Mr Cesar explained that some of the indoor facilities will need maintenance work to adjust to the requirements of the new normal set by the health authority.

He explained that with the budget cut of R17.051 million and an additional R8 million, the NSC is finding it very difficult to handle the work.

Mr Cesar also urged the different federations and associations to cooperate with NSC officials when they are carrying out their inspection duties on how the sports activities are being carried out, to assess whether they are in line with the directives of the health authority.


Roland Duval

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