The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Sport clubs and associations left in the dark regarding relaxing measures - PN

Giulia Magri Thursday, 21 May 2020, 14:37 Last update: about 8 days ago

Sport associations, clubs and facilities have been left in the dark regarding any news on the relaxation of measures due to COVID-19, said Nationalist Party whip and spokesperson for youths, sports and voluntary work, Robert Cutajar.

“The Nationalist Party has reached out to sports’ associations and clubs, who have informed us that they are in limbo and have not received any information on new guidelines to operate due to COVID-19,” Cutajar said today. He said that whilst the government do not wish to state how many meetings they have had with Sports’ associations, clubs have informed the party that government representatives have only reached out less than three times.

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“Our health is a priority to us, and whilst the government and health authorities are working hard to safeguard the nation from COVID-19, discussion on sports and physical wellbeing has decreased.  Our sport facilities and associations are left in the dark as to how they can operate and practice their sports safely and follow proper health guide measures.” Cutajar highlighted that these sport facilities also contribute largely to the economy, through sport tourism and bringing in millions of athletes to the island.

The Nationalist Party proposed five points to the government to help these sport facilities and associations. “We should not allow our sport associations die due to COVID-19. The government should financially support all sports’ clubs, with no discrimination between any clubs. The government should cancel any payments of rent this year and the next which clubs have. We are also emphasising that if there are any schemes which the government has promised for these clubs, they must be provided immediately. Lastly, we are proposing that the bills of water and electricity are decreased for these facilities and associations.”

Tsunami of mental health issues post-COVID-19

PN MP Mario Galea called on the government to prepare for the ‘tsunami of mental health issues’ which are to come along as an effect of COVID-19. “The World Health Organisation and many other medical professionals have emphasised that mental health is to be the top priority, and that we must provide our health care workers and front line works all the necessary support, as they are to face the same traumatic experiences to which soldiers of WW2 faced.”

He said that mental health problems, abuse and suicide cases are to increase as a result of the pandemic and that it is now the government must prepare for this tsunami.

“We must focus more on exercise and sports; scientifically a simple workout or walk can boost and help an individual so much and is one of the best cures for mental health. We need more open spaces to exercise, especially now with the increasing demand of social distancing.”

PN spokesperson for Local Councils Karl Gouder said that NGOs and Local Councils must work harder to invest in more open spaces for recreational exercise. “During this time we see our local councils and NGOs doing their very best to help the community; but we believe that local councils should be stakeholders and fight harder to ensure that there is enough open space for exercise and to battle obesity.” He proposed that local councils work alongside schools so as to use the school space after hours for the community.

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