By Neto Baptiste
Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, has urged those sporting associations yet to make a decision regarding their incomplete competitions to stop prolonging the inevitable.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Matthew said that as it stands, he does not see an immediate end in sight to the ongoing coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic and that organisations like the football and cricket associations should bring closure to their stalled competitions.
“My advice? Cancel and cancel now, because in my mind there is no real logical or justifiable rational that one can come up with to still hang on to that little bit of hope that in the immediate future, they will be able to complete their activities,” he said.
“Football needs two more weekends I understand, but is it likely we will have those two weekends in April, probably not. Will they be possible in May? We don’t know, and so the longer you wait before you pull the trigger and just cancel, then you are just going to be hanging in limbo, teams are going to be hanging on to the expenses they are accruing because they have brought in players and you continue to give persons that sense of hope for which there may be no justification,” he added.
The basketball association and the cycling federation are, so far, the only two to have completely cancelled their various competitions for this season, but other major sports like football and cricket are still yet to make any definite decision.
Matthew said he has however seen a significant shift in the behavior of those within the sports industry regarding the serious threat of the virus to human life.
“In the beginning, I think there were persons who thought that we jumped the gun and we could have waited two more weekends for football to finish, and cricket is a non-contact sport, so what’s the big deal, but I think persons have recognised that it was a step that we had to take and we feel very vindicated and persons are coming on board and if we look around all of Antigua and Barbuda, we will start to see that change in behavior, we will start to see that change in behavior that is required for us to tackle this Covid-19,” he said.
In early March, the government suspended all sporting activities for 30 days as part of the country’s fight against the virus. Recently, organisers of the popular Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion announced the cancellation of this year’s tournament, while the Antigua and Barbuda Amateur Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation also announced that its national championship has been postponed from June 6 to August 29.