High risk sports finally return, but…

by | Mar 30, 2021 | COVID 19, Sport | 0 comments

Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa

Medium to high-risk sports may now legally resume, provided that the associations and clubs follow strict laid down Covid-19 measures.

The announcement on sports was carried in the recently promulgated Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (No .2) (Amendment) Order. 2A2l (No. 18) or Statutory Instrument 81 of 2021.

Among the sports that can now resume are popular sports such as football, rugby, basketball as well as netball, which are among high-risk sports. Some obscure sports such as dodgeball, korfball and gymnasiums.

The SI cites measures and standard operating procedures that medium and high-risk sports are to follow in order to be played.

The measures may prove to be the Achilles heel for many sports associations especially football which at the moment does not have proper sponsorship and funding most clubs may fail to adhere to the set out conditions.

Football clubs in Zimbabwe generally depend on match attendant fees from fans and the new conditions stipulate empty stadiums for all sports.

The strict requirements also include disinfection of stadiums and shower rooms before matches, provision of PPEs including face masks, tissues, wipe and alcohol-based sanitiser for distribution to athletes and members of the associated sport staff.

Perhaps the most necessary and most expensive for teams and associations will be PcR or Rapid-Antigen testing should be done for all players, officials and club staff at least 48 hours prior to commencement of training.

Rapid Antigen/ PCR tests to be done within every 14 days of training from the last test.

The tests are also a requirement, 48 hours before a game once competitive leagues resume.

With the tests costing on average of US$30 and a team and officials amounting up to at least 28 for soccer teams, this means that every other week they will be parting with US$840 just for tests. Meanwhile, the same SI amended the principal order on Covid-19 regulations by allowing restaurants, hotels and tourist facilities to allow a fifty percent sit-in for meals.