Connect with us

Horse Racing

Contact sport to return in July

Hours after Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci gave the green light for indoor non-contact sport to return tomorrow, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations Clifton Grima announced yesterday that contact sport in Malta will also restart as from July 1.

In a press conference at the Marsa Racetrack, Dr Grima explained that not only will athletes performing non-contact sport, be allowed to train as from tomorrow but they will also be able to compete again if adhering to directives issued by SportMalta in the coming days.

Grima also added that competition for contact sport would be allowed as from July 15.

Joined by Edwin Borg, the chairman of the Malta Racing Club, he announced that horse racing summer competitions would return on July 3. However, he insisted that there will still be a limitation regarding the fact that there can be not more than 75 persons – including athletes, staff and officials – inside a venue.

The Parliamentary Secretary explained that the decision to get sports back up and running came after discussions with the Health Ministry as well as consultation with numerous associations.

“We had a lot of protocols, even medical, to look into with different scenarios which we are now turning into reality,” he said.

“What we were thinking before, is a real thing now and because of that we can announce these initiatives.”

Asked about the extent of the released measures, Grima said that his aim is to eventually open the facilities to the people again.

“You have to understand that we did not simply open the doors to everything but gave the go-ahead for competition. Naturally, it will be up to the health authorities to look at the situation and assure us that all is well,” Dr Grima explained.

This was echoed by SportMalta CEO Mark Cutajar who praised the commitment shown by athletes and their coaches, saying it was key to the process achieving the desired result.

“We’ve announced these dates so that the necessary preparations can be made by the associations,” Cutajar remarked.

“Obviously all of this has to happen within the restrictions – the most important thing for us is the athletes and officials’ health, and especially all those who are close to them.”

With SportMalta’s ‘Summer on the Move’ initiative opening its registration period as from next Monday, Cutajar admitted the reopening of sport facilities was very important.

“This programme is very important to us and will be able to start again. It is something which solves the problem of putting children into sport within a safe environment.”

Malta Racing Club chairman Borg also expressed his satisfaction about the measures.

“It is the day we’ve been waiting for,” Borg said.

“The clock stopped after March 8 and we’ve all been waiting for when we could start again. The Council together with the owners’ representatives has met to explain the priorities and the process of going back to normal.

“We’ve missed a lot of the race calendar but we need to look forward to start moving again. The championship will start of July 3 and end on August 14. We’re prolonging it a bit but this is what these circumstances permit us.”

Wage supplement

With respect to professional athletes and people who earn their living through sports, Parliamentary Secretary said that the first step they had taken was to include sport into the Malta Enterprise’s Covid-19 Wage Supplement.

“I think that by including sport, we showed respect to the athletes whom I see as Maltese ambassadors and I think we’ve learnt that we’ve coordinated quite well,” Grima said.

With restart dates being this close, some associations, such as the Malta Football Association (MFA) who concluded the 2019-20 season a few weeks ago, may be facing concern about the conclusion of their leagues. Grima told the Times of Malta that the decisions taken by associations were made independently and free of government involvement.

“As a government, we can only give guarantees on things related to health. We’ve spoken to the MFA many times but one has to understand that it had international obligations and even from correspondence that we had, the leagues could not be finished because of the answer which UEFA had been asking for,” he said.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Horse Racing