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GAB appeals to restart pro sports


PhilBoxing.com



Mitra.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra said yesterday he is awaiting notice from the IATF’s Technical Working Group (TWG) for a meeting to determine when to restart professional sporting events under strict health and safety protocols so athletes could be given the chance to continue making a living for their families.

Mitra and GAB commissioners Eduard Trinidad and Mario Masanguid co-signed a letter to IATF chair Secretary Francisco Duque, co-chairs Secretaries Karlo Nograles and Roy Cimatu and chief implementor of the National Task Force against COVID-19 Carlito Galvez assuring that there are “more than enough safety and health protocols to prevent, if not eliminate, any or all possible means of transmission of the COVID-19 virus in sports competitions, ensuring utmost safety and protection for all event participants even under GCQ or modified ECQ while at the same time, allowing our professional sports athletes and other sports practitioners to earn their living just like other professional practitioners in the country are able to do so during these conditions.”

With the letter, Mitra submitted a 56-page document detailing a framework within which to restart sporting events. The letter was dated last June 4 and Mitra made a presentation to the IATF a week later. Included in the presentation was a request of the PBA and the Philippine Football Federation to be allowed to resume practice without scrimmages. The PBA proposal is for only four players, a medical officer and a trainer on the court for individual training. The GAB framework specifies measures for the resumption of professional sports in the new normal.

The virtual meeting took about 25 minutes. “I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was nervous,” said Mitra. “I wanted to make a sincere appeal in behalf of the athletes. Pros are in a difficult and different situation from amateurs who receive assistance from the PSC. Three to four months of no activity for pro boxers, for instance, is like a lifetime with no means of livelihood. We realize the priority of government is health then economy then amusement. So we understand why it’s taking a little long to act on our appeal.”

Mitra said his presentation focused on boxing, basketball, football and cockfighting backed by animated simulations and actual footage of boxing restarts in Las Vegas. “Football’s suggestion is to hold practices and games in Carmona,” he said. “Our football protocols are being copied by other federations. Horseracing is back but off-track-betting remains restricted. VIP lounges in casinos are now open.”

Mitra said no schedule has been set with TWG. “We are in talks with the Department of Health and PSC representatives to align with their joint administrative order,” he said. “I explained to them that professional athletes play or fight for their livelihood and don’t have allowances. We also can’t restrict Filipinos abroad (from fighting) as they are not licensed by GAB. I’ve been following up with TWG but they seem really busy specially with the number of infections rising.”

Mitra said he is seeking clarification from the IATF if team and contact sports like football, basketball, boxing, muay thai and mixed martial arts, among others, are included in the sporting events permitted under modified GCQ with participants limited to 50 percent of the venue seating capacity.

“With the current resumption of boxing and contact sports activities in other countries, foreign promoters, particularly those involved in world championship bouts, are already starting to negotiate fights with our local managers, boxers and fighters,” said Mitra. “We know that championship bouts provide not only a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our boxers but also bring honor and pride to the country.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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