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By Neto Baptiste

Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew, does not see any lifting of restrictions on team sports happening this year without the availability of a working vaccine.

His statement comes as government begins easing some restrictions that were put in place back in March as the country battled the spread of the coronavirus.

Matthew said that in his personal view, team sports could be the last of the lot to return to normalcy here and around the globe.

“I can give you my personal position which I have represented to the government and Cabinet from time to time, and for me, personally, much like how I didn’t see the Olympics happening this year, I think it would be difficult for me to conceive how in the absence of a viable solution to the Covid-19 you could have major team sports playing. It just doesn’t add up in my mind, so even if all players on a team get tested and they are all negative, unless you are going to house them in a safe or quarantined environment for an extended period of time, so there is never any outside [physical] interaction with any persons between games, I just don’t see how it can happen,” he said.

The government, last month, eased restrictions on golf, cycling and recreational walking and jogging, as part of measures to progressively bring the country back to normalcy.

Matthew said he has been working with the sporting bodies as they map the way forward together.

“I am in touch with all of the national federations on a fairly regular basis, and what I have asked them to do, which some have done, is to provide guidance in terms of safety protocols from their international governing bodies; so swimming, I know, has sent me, tennis has sent, and so on because there are some sports that because of the nature of the discipline can be exercised in a safe social distance way, if I can use that expression,” he said.

“I have received documentation from the swimming federation to identify how swimming could take place in a safe way. I’ve spoken to the folks at the shooting association and you know that’s a sport that’s made for social distancing so as I have said to the associations, I understand the frustration and I would love to go and play football but I can’t,” he added. Basketball and cricket have both cancelled their 2020 seasons while football has postponed its competitions indefinitely. A number of other associations to include cycling and swimming have announced the postponing of national championships and other competitions.

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