FG Bows To Pressure, Lifts Ban On Contacts Sports
By Amaechi Agbo
The Federal Government has bowed to intense pressure by Nigerians sports stakeholders and lifted the 8 months ban slammed on sports following the outbreak of coronavirus also known as COVID-19, Bestchocesports.com.ng can report.
after 24 hours Nigeria sports journalists, coaches, players, referees, administrators, athletes embarked on #LiftBanOnSportsNow, the federal government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Thursday lifted ban on contact sports.
The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, PTF, chaired by Boss Mustapha in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development have lifted the ban imposed on contact Sports as a result of Coronavirus pandemic.
Sequel to the reduction in the cases of COVID-19 across the federation, the PTF have announced the re-opening of contact sports after being placed on ban for months.
The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, in a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, said the FG had decided to ease the restrictions on football and other contact sports in the country.
Aliyu said the decision was arrived at after consultation with the sports ministry and the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
He however announced that the games would take place behind closed doors.
Aliyu stated, “It is also time for sports to open, but to open safely and in this regard, we have continued with providing guidelines and engagement with states to ensure close supervision and oversight as sports reopen.
“The lifting of restrictions on outdoor sporting activities including football is in line with earlier consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the National Centre for Disease Control. However, this is limited to the actual sports itself, not with mass gatherings.
“In this regard, mass gatherings including at sports events are still restricted, as this represents an opportunity for the virus to spread with an increased risk of a second wave.”
There were calls on social media on Thursday for the return of contact sports with people using the #LiftBanOnSports and #LiftBanOnContactSports hashtags after the FG had only announced the return of non-contact sports in August.
Sports minister, Sunday Dare, said the removal of the ban was a welcome development.
“We welcome the lifting of the ban on football by the PTF. The lifting of restrictions on outdoor activities including football is in line with earlier consultations with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and NCDC. However, this is limited to the actual sports itself and not mass gathering,” Dare tweeted.
The announcement came as a relief to the country’s athletes, who had been in the dark over the resumption of contact sports, after a seven-month lull.
It is now expected that football activities will resume across the nation without crowd.
It could be recalled that in an effort to bounce back the economy after months of restrictions occasioned by covid-19 lockdown, the federal government had reopened all sectors of the economy such as transportation, places of worship, market places, schools, recreational parks, etc except sports.