IATF: Contact sports under evaluation

MANILA, Philippines — The NCAA has moved its season opening to early next year while the UAAP seems to be still evaluating the situation and so does the Inter-Agency Task Force on the decision to render on requests of various sports leagues for a calibrated return to play.

Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Lourdes Vergeire said the proposed step-by-step return of basketball and other contact sports is under evaluation by the IATF.

“Experts are still studying as of now what would be their recommendations regarding contact sports like basketball,” said Vergeire.

In a bid to slowly resume operations, the PBA has recently submitted a return-to-practice plan to the IATF with guidance from protocols issued by International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).

PBA’s request came on the heels of a joint letter submitted by seven national sports associations (NSAs), regarding the same issue.

One of them, football, has submitted restart plans for the Philippine Football League, including protocols, and supporting documents from the International Football Federation and World Health Organization.

With the group are the governing bodies of basketball, volleyball, track and field, karate, rugby and gymnastics.

POC president Bambol Tolentino said he’s not too keen about contact or team sports returning for now as the virus is still there. PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, for his part, said the agency’s position is along the “no vaccine, no play” lines.

But the two officials said it would ultimately depend on the IATF’s decision.

Meanwhile, the NCAA announced it will open Season 96 early next year with only four mandatory sports – basketball, volleyball, track and field and swimming – while introducing online chess and e-sports.

Traditionally, the NCAA opens in July. But the league has made the adjustment for the safety of everybody.

“Season 96, with Colegio de San Juan de Letran as host, shall begin in early months of 2021, subject to the decisions of government for the favorable conduct of games, while strictly observing safety and health protocols,” said the NCAA in a statement signed signed by league Policy Board president Fr. Clarence Marquez and Management Committee chair Fr. Vic Calvo.

The UAAP has made no announcement yet, saying the situation remains fluid.

“Everything is pretty much on the table but the good news is that we might be beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag.

Date: June 12, 2020 | By: John Ulanday | Newspaper: Philippine Star | Source: https://www.philstar.com/sports/2020/06/12/2020283/iatf-contact-sports-under-evaluation