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By Carlena Knight

The return of competitive sports could occur in the near future as it has been revealed that a meeting with the various sporting associations across the island will be held next week.

Sports Minister Daryll Matthew, while speaking exclusively to this newsroom, revealed that plans are now in motion.

“I have reached out to all the presidents of the national associations advising them that we should have a meeting some time early next week, and the main focus of that decision will be for us to get recommendations from the associations and federations outlining what they are prepared to do and outlining what they can in fact do, so that we can get to a place where we all feel comfortable that competition can resume,” Matthew said.

He noted that new and creative ways will have to be looked at for any competitive sporting event.

“Clearly, it won’t be business as usual with competitions, so we have to have an honest, open and frank discussion about what we believe may be the best option for competitions to resume. It could be with different things in place; for example, you have competitions without fans which we did earlier in the year where cricket was concerned. Perhaps, we may get recommendations from the national associations that they will ensure as much as possible that as many athletes as possible are inoculated so, we are looking at all options; everything is on the table but that is just merely a discussion we will have net week,” he added.

Matthew also commented on Cabinet’s decision to allow recreational sports to be played.

“As the minister responsible for sports and as someone who participates in sports, of course, I am very happy but we must follow the trend where Cabinet has been doing for the last few weeks, where, as our Covid numbers decrease, then we will incrementally open various aspects of our society and economy. Where, as in the past, we looked at restaurants and schools and so forth, we are now at the point where we feel that under certain circumstances it is now permissible for recreational sports to proceed,” Matthew mentioned.

He is imploring all persons to abide by the various protocols while playing recreationally and also encouraged persons to get vaccinated as ‘it is still the safest way to prevent [people] getting seriously ill and [dying] from Covid.”

The Cabinet agreed that it is to be encouraged that every precaution must be taken to ensure that these activities do not lead to the spread of the virus. Those who feel ill are to stay isolated in their homes; those who participate must not expose themselves and must practice the protocols that have kept them healthy.