Safety first — for children and everyone

Editorial

Safety first — for children and everyone

Saturday, June 27, 2020

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For sports fans everywhere the gradual return of professional televised sport, even without live audiences at stadiums, has been a great relief.

Watching sport — more than most other activities in this time of crisis brought on by COVID-19 — helps to ease stress and aid an optimistic outlook.

For those who religiously watch the English Premier League there was a sense of history achieved with the triumph earlier this week of Liverpool Football Club — their first such title in three decades.

Sport mimics the ups and downs of life, and in this case, Liverpool, among Europe's most well-known and successful clubs, has had to travel a hard and bumpy road these last 30 years.

On the home front, horse racing has resumed with COVID-19-related safety protocols. The return to the track is a relief not just for fans and punters but for hundreds of people who depend on the industry for their livelihood.

And cricket fans are looking forward to the start of the England vs West Indies three-Test series starting July 8. This will be the first international cricket since February. Again, it's without spectators because of the novel coronavirus and will be targeting a global television audience.

Players on both sides have been living and training in biosecure environments, without physical contact outside of their group, to minimise, if not eliminate, the risk of COVID-19 infection.

That ultra-secure approach is likely to be a blueprint for international cricket going forward until the virus is brought under control or a proven vaccine is found.

On the local front we note talk about the very popular, annual schoolboy football season which would normally open in September, shortly after the start of a new school term.

Barring some spectacular developments for the better in the immediate future, it seems clear that the schoolboy football season will be delayed, if it happens at all.

As the situation now stands, school leaders, the Ministry of Education, parents and local authorities will be put under extreme pressure just to have school resume under the COVID-19 dictated 'new normal'.

In that respect it seems to us schools' sport, in this case football, seems certain to be pushed to the back burner.

We note word from head of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Mr Keith Wellington that his organisation will await Government's instructions regarding protocols being developed for sports in the era of COVID-19.

He is also very clear that parents will make the final decision as to whether their children play, if and when the schoolboy season opens.

Said he: “ISSA will not be forcing anyone to play football. We will provide an opportunity, if and when it is safe to do so, but we will also ensure that we will be indemnified [regarding] decisions that will be taken by parents to allow their children to play.”

That's very sensible, we think. Better safe than sorry.


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