Birkirkara St Joseph issued a statement to announce that the club’s request to host Open Water Swimming and Triathlon events have been declined by the health authorities.
Birkirkara St Joseph were expected to organise an open water swimming competition on Monday and then were set to host a triathlon sprint race on June 13.
However, BSJ said that despite setting up protocols which were accepted by the authorities last year, they were denied a permit to host competitions.
“It is with immense disappointment that Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club’s request to host Open Water Swimming and Triathlon events (both sanctioned by their respective Federations) has been declined,” the club said in a statement.
“Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club has set up protocols, which were acceptable last year (when cases were higher than as we currently have) in terms of the relative regulations found under Annex A in the Mandatory Standards for Sport which were published on the 24th of May.
“The measures introduced and adhered to during the club’s events included limiting of access to race area by athletes and a minimal number of race officials, social distancing, taking of temperatures, wearing of masks (when not competing), availability of sanitisers, no handling of cash on the day, no water stations, no sharing of equipment, compiling of track and trace data, and no spectators.
“All these measures were overseen by paramedical staff members to ensure adherence at all times.”
Birkirkara St Joseph said that during 2020, not one COVID-19 case was traced to participation in the club’s numerous events.
“Open water swimming and triathlon are sports which are small in nature and do not attract large numbers of spectators on a good day. The few spectators that normally attend are family members watching their relatives compete. The nature to compete and take part in races will surely be a motivation for such relatives not to turn up as spectators. This is a measure, amongst others, that the Club has emphasised at all times,” the club said.
“In the club’s opinion the denial of racing permits is in this case without any fair justification. The Club also points out that there are laws that the general public are required to adhere to, especially where gatherings are concerned and they should be responsible enough no to break them.”
In reaction to the statement a spokesman for SportMalta said that Birkirkara St Joseph had failed to respond the authorities’ request of explaining how they would impede that the event would not be held in front of spectators.
“Today we have sent an email, on the request of the Health Authorities, to Birkirkara St Joseph where we asked them to submit to us a protocol of how spectators will not gather for the event,” the spokesman said.
“At the moment there are clear guidelines issued by the health authorities that forbid any non-contact sport events from being staged with spectators present.”
In reaction, Birkirkara St Joseph claimed that they were only contacted by SportMalta after the club made their announcement that they were postponing the events after the permits were declined.
BSJ said that they submitted everything that SportMalta had asked for when applying for the requested permits.