THE Games and Amusement Board (GAB) welcome the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on allowing the gradual return of professional sports and amusement events in the country under specific health protocols by the Department of Health (DOH).
Mitra, however, claimed that he seek clarification after the IATF announcement on Friday, allowing only basketball and football to return for training while excluding boxing.
“I was under the impression that boxing was included. Sa zoom meeting namin ok na ang boxing after ipaliwanag namin na sa mga laban nakasalalay ang kabuhayan ng ating mga boxers. Our appeal is in behalf of the boxers because for them, it’s no fight, no pay,” said Mitra.
“Kaya po hihingi tayo ng clarification about this, dahil basketball at football lang ang nabaggit na unti-unti nang maibalik,” added Mitra.
In a 20-minute zoom meeting on Thursday, the IATF’s Technical Working Group discussed the PSC-GAB-DOH Joint Administrative Order guidelines on the conduct of health-enhancing physical activities and sports during the pandemic.
Mitra said a consensus was reached with Secretaries Eduardo Año and Silvestre Belo commenting that fighters are deprived of their livelihood without bouts and GAB is pushing for closed-door professional boxing events with zero spectators to reduce, if not eliminate, possible transmission of Covid-19.
“The return of boxing is good. What was clearly denied by the IATF was the restart of cockfighting,” claimed Mitra.
“We are thankful to all the members of the IATF for giving us the chance to present our case. This is a good development for the entire professional sports community. Pro sports events have been stalled for over 4 months now and this kind of development is really something to look forward to,” Mitra said.
The IATF also approved the training of Chooks to Go 3×3 National Team, despite the fact that its amateur, but Mitra quickly defended the approval as the team is set to compete at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Austria next May.
“We talked to Coach Eric (Altamirano) and he personally asked us to include 3×3 basketball in JAO as plan to professionalize the league is already a work in progress. Any sport or league may go direct to the IATF but for sure, the IATF will want to know who’s in charge, who will supervise and who will control to make sure health and safety protocols are followed,” said Mitra.
Leagues like the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, the Philippine Volleyball League and rival Philippine Superliga remained on the waiting list as the three organization are considered amateur and not under the supervision of GAB.
“The IATF 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,” said Mitra.
With Metro Manila still under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Mitra said the PBA may resume practice up to five participants. The limit will increase to 10 under MGCQ and 20 under No CQ. Earlier, the PBA is looking for a maximum of six participants, including four players, a trainer and health officer.
“Siguro, tyempo muna tayo, after months of practices, maybe we could request the TWG to allow also scrimmages and then actual games na,” he added.