The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Contact sports restricted to national teams, clubs, athletes competing at international level

Albert Galea Monday, 3 May 2021, 16:02 Last update: about 8 days ago

Only national teams, sports clubs and athletes taking part in international competitions are allowed to train contact sports as from 10 May, according to the government’s new mandatory standards for sports.

The standards, which were determined by the Superintendent of Public Health in consultation with SportMalta, which will become applicable as from 10 May as the government continues to reopen the country following a quasi-lockdown announced back in March.

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The standards read that only high level and elite sport will be able to restart.  This is defined as teams or athletes who are either representing Malta as a national team, or have represented Malta since March 2019 or are already registered to represent Malta during 2021 in further high level international competitions.

National teams could already train under the current restrictions - but they would need special dispensation from health authorities to allow them to do so.

The international competitions defined as high-level in the guidelines are those at Olympic, World, Commonwealth, or European levels and in the Games of the Small States of Europe.

This means that, under the guidelines, for instance, football clubs which have qualified to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League will be allowed to restart their training.  Football clubs however which have not qualified for any such European competition will not be allowed to train under these guidelines.

The same principle applies across all other contact sports and is also applicable for different age group teams.

The full list of contact sport as defined by the health authorities is: Baseball, Cricket, Canoe Polo, Volleyball (other than in a 2x2 format), Horse Polo, Basketball, Football, Handball, Netball, Hockey, Rugby, Waterpolo, all Combat Sport disciplines, Dance Sport, and Squash.

Eligible athletes or teams must request and be granted approval by SportMalta in order to be able to train their sport.

In these cases of high level and elite contact team sports, only competitions endorsed by SportMalta are allowed to take place, and contact between different teams must be limited to play time only – with strict social distancing observed while not in play.

All non-contact sports meanwhile – which is essentially every sport not named in the above list – can continue exclusively to train: competition is still not allowed just yet.

A number of strict guidelines have been put in place for training to take place, with athletes having to be divided into mini-bubbles of 6 people, with no more than a maximum of three mini-bubbles from the same team being able to train at the same venue at the same time.

During training of contact sports, the time period during which close contact may occur should be limited to 50% of each training session.

A closed-door policy for spectators – for both training and competitions – must be observed at all times.

The full guidelines can be found here.

 

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