By Neto Baptiste
Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew has shot down any hopes of a return to competitive sports this year, stating that even with proper protocol documents and or procedures in place, associations would more than likely be denied any request to host competitions.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Matthew said the government is mindful that granting permission to just one association could open ‘Pandora’s Box’.
“If you’re a shooter, for example, or the shooting association then by the very nature of the discipline they are socially distanced and so an argument could be made that if we have no spectators coming in then why can’t we have a competition. But it has to do generally with our psyche, meaning shooting has a competition and they are able to proceed. Golf, another individual sport has a competition, maybe cycling or tennis also have competition then you know what would happen? We saw it a few months ago, those sports for which competitions are now restricted will start to bare pressure on the government, the ministry that why can they and not us,” he said.
To date, no association have been granted permission to host and or resume competitions that have been stalled since March this year when the country recorded its first case of the deadly virus.
Matthew said that for now, the government’s main concern is the overall health and safety of its people.
“And so, the government has taken the decision that, let us get the whole situation right where we could open back the competitive element of our sports so that our people can go back out and compete. Doing it in the same manner that we did before, opens up the risk for confusion, problems and we want to be able to focus on the health aspect of things now and not be engaged in an ongoing debate about why them and not me,” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) is the only body yet to officially make a decision regarding the status of its leagues.
The sports ministry recently turned down a request by the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) to host the annual Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion which would have started in October.