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GAB, PSC, DOH issue new guidelines on the conduct of professional sports during the Covid-19 pandemic

THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and the Department of Health (DOH) officially approved on Wednesday the supplemental guidelines of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2021-0002 to provide further guidelines on the conduct of sports and other physical activities under a bubble-type training modality during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The new tripartite agreement has supplemented the 2020 JAO entitled, “Guidelines on the Conduct of Health-enhancing Physical Activities and Sports during the COVID-19 Pandemic” which was issued on June 27, 2020.

The 2020 JAO has restricted the conduct of scrimmages in areas under MGCQ (Modified General Community Quarantine).  But with the approval of the new guidelines, team-based professional sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and football, can now resume training sessions with scrimmages in GCQ (General Community Quarantine) areas, provided that the activities are in an athletic bubble.

 “We want to thank the IATF and the DOH for helping us forge this new policy direction and for recognizing the plight of our professional athletes and stakeholders, especially during these challenging times,” said GAB Chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra.

Chairman Mitra was delighted about the signing of the new JAO as he mentioned that many professional leagues are currently holding bubble training outside the NCR.

“This new Order will help both our athletes and the leagues to move forward and break the pandemic sabbatical effect as we really need to keep our athletes in sporting shape,” added Chairman Mitra.

According to the new JAO, both non-contact and contact sports are now permitted under a bubble-type training modality in GCQ and MGCQ areas, provided that the bubble training and competition shall be conducted without a live audience and in a bubble that shall not exceed 100 individuals, including all athletes, coaches, and other support personnel at any given time.

The new policy direction has also empowered all GAB-accredited leagues and sports to self-regulate by developing their health safety protocols in conformity with provisions of the new JAO and other issuances of the GAB.

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