GAB waits for IATF green light

July 06, 2020
Abraham “Baham” Mitra
Mitra: Waiting for IATF nod.

THERE IS no official word yet from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) whether or not boxing is included in the list of recommended professional sports given the green light to return.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said he will consult the IATF-EID  Technical Working Group before making any formal announcement on the list of pro sports allowed under the new normal.

“We’re asking for the transcript of the IATF meeting and seek clarification first,” said Mitra when asked about reports that boxing was already given the go-signal to restart by Department of Interior and Local Govenrment  (DILG) Sec. Eduardo Año and Departmen tof Labor and Employment  (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Belo.

“Many countries have resumed boxing and we’ve studied their health protocols for application. Our appeal is in behalf of the boxers because for them, it’s no fight, no pay.” explained Mitra.

Mitra, however, lauded the IATF-EID for approving the protocols set for the return of professional team practices.

Two major professional sports expected to benefit from the IATF-EID approval are basketbal and football.

“This is a good development for the entire professional sports community. Pro sports events have been stalled for four months now and this kind of development is really something to look forward to,” said Mitra in a statement.

Mitra said  that five people -- four players and a trainer -- will be allowed to train for a certain period inside a practice facility in cities and provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) like Metro Manila and Cavite.

The practice sessions will become more lenient to allow up to 10 people at a time once Metro Manila and Cavite join Laguna as provinces under the modified GCQ.

Mitra said that while team practices are now allowed, there is still no definite date when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games will be allowed to resume.

“After a month of practices, maybe we could request the TWG again when games may be held,” said Mitra.

But the  three-time lawmaker from Palawan  claimed fans will still not be allowed to watch at the playing venue if and when the PBA restart its season.

The PBA  played only one game, the opening game of the 45th season between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia, last March 8 before the  government-imposed lockdown took effect.

Another sports given the green light is football, with the Philippien Football Federation (PFF) determined to push through with its twice-postponed tournament.

There are no reports on the status of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League  (MPBL), Philippine Volleyball League (PVL) and Philippine Superliga (PSL), which are not under GAB supervision yet.

Mitra said leagues like the MPBL, PVL and PSL will benefit from GAB supervision because the IATF-EID makes it a point to determine which government agency is the controlling authority.

The IATF  has already ruled out contact sports and activities for non-pros “until an effective vaccine and established standard of care is put in place for COVID-19 cases.”

Also denied by the IATF-EID was the resumption of cockfighting in the country.

The only non-pro sports given the grenn light is the Chooks to Go 3x3 training program linked to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Austria next year.

‘The Chooks to Go 3x3 program isn’t under GAB, but Coach Eric (Altamirano) asked us to support 3x3 and told me he plans to make it professional to formalize GAB supervision,” explained Mitra.

“Any sport or league may go direct to the IATF, they will want to know who is the regulating body that will make sure health and safety protocols are followed.”