By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry says ‘high risk’ sports codes will return to action in a staggered format with local football expected to kick-off with the Premier Soccer League and the Women’s Soccer League while the lower divisions will have to wait longer.
Coventry made the announcement while clarifying on how sport will resume in the country after a long break due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The minister insisted medium and high-risk sport still have to follow the Sports Commission standard operating procedures.
Cabinet announced on Tuesday that all sport has resumed following further relaxation of Covid-19 measures.
The announcement came after the Sports Commission (SRC) on Monday set conditions for the return of sports codes deemed to pose a high risk of spreading Covid-19.
While unpacking the roadmap for sport resumption during a media briefing at her offices in Harare on Wednesday, Coventry said ZIFA have already agreed on the operating procedures with the Sports Commission and it was all systems go.
She emphasised the need for sports associations to strictly adhere to the key Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)which included testing required within every 14 days of training and once competitive league resumes.
Testing should be done for all players and officials, at least 48 hours, prior to competitions while spectators are still not allowed.
“So please, we want to work hand in hand, this is a really good achievement, this is something that we know the sports federations, the football clubs, the gym owners, have often requested and asked for, but it comes with some responsibility and those responsibilities are the standard operations procedures. So, we are just requesting all gyms to please get in contact with the Sports Commission so that they can let you know what those SOPs are and how best to follow them,” she said.
Minister Coventry also cleared the air on the opening of gyms and requested all the health and fitness facilities to register with the Sports Commission.
“In terms of the gyms, I am requesting that all gyms, please to register with the SRC so that we can update the gyms.
“As we move along, as we progress, especially when it comes to the SOPs, there are very specific SOPs that government has put into place, that will allow for the safety of gyms as well as medium and high-risk sport to resume.”