Matthew: Ministry Stands By Decision To Suspend Sporting Activities

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By Neto Baptiste

Sports minister, Daryll Matthew, believes that the government has taken the right approach in suspending all sporting activities for 30 days as they seek to mitigate the possible spread of the coronavirus.

Matthew, during his address in parliament on Tuesday, said government will not back down from the decision despite differing views on how the matter should be handled.

“While there are those in Antigua and Barbuda who believe that the option of playing without spectators could have been explored, the option of playing behind closed doors could have been explored, while sports that are not considered full contact sports could have been allowed to continue, we are firm in our belief that the banning of all these sporting activities for a 30-day period is the absolute correct decision to make under these circumstances,” he said.

The ministry, last week, issued a directive to all sporting bodies that competition be suspended for 30 days following an announcement that the country had recorded its first case of the COVID 19.

Matthew said that not all associations were pleased with the decision, and they were assured that it is in keeping with international norms.

“I am also aware there are some in the sporting fraternity who are not happy with the ban on sporting events for the 30 days, but be assured that we are following the guidelines of almost every international sporting body in banning these gatherings. Almost every sporting discipline worldwide has gone on hiatus. League has been suspended, competitions have been suspended,” he said. The suspension will be reviewed following the 30-day period at which time, new directives will be issued.

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