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SportMalta issues strong appeal to sports organisations to keep following COVID-19 protocols

Maltese sporting bodies and clubs have been reminded by SportMalta of their responsibilities to enforce the COVID-19 protocols issued by the Health Authorities as the number of cases continues to increase in the last few weeks.

In a letter sent to all sporting organisations, SportMalta said sports activities, particularly contact sports, are very high-risk activities for COVID-19 transmission, given the frequent physical contact between players and team members for varying periods of time, the large number of people involved and increased volume of breathing without masks.

“Although the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe illness, it is known that persons can still become infected, become ill and transmit the virus although to a lesser degree,” SportMalta said in its communication.

“The U-12s are currently the group of persons most susceptible to COVID-19 and its spread since vaccination for this age group has not yet been rolled out, thus extra caution needs to be taken in this group.

“It has been announced that in the next days this age group will be offered vaccination. Until a good proportion of younger athletes are protected, infection in these age groups will continue to spread in line with the spread in the community.

“It is important to note that children are more likely to have mild symptoms of COVID-19 with research showing that one third of infected children are asymptomatic.

“Limiting the number of persons one is exposed to is a way of balancing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 with the need for social interaction and other daily healthy lifestyle requirements.”

SportMalta has urged sports organisation to respect the mitigation measures issued by the Health Authorities to limit the spread of COVID-19.

These include: keep to bubbles of six persons (under 12s) or eight persons (over 12s) keeping the same composition of groups and teams; training areas should allow for one person per 20 square metres; during training ‘contact’ is allowed for up to two thirds of each training session. One third of the time must be non-contact training, maintain social distancing of two metres; only competitions, leagues and events of a competitive nature that are approved by SportMalta can take place.

All events must be endorsed by SportMalta and may only be organised by entities registered by SportMalta.

Clubs were told that events must be scheduled in advance and adequate records of the participating athletes must be kept.

“No more than two teams can meet to compete against each other at the venue at any one time, with each team playing only against one other team every 24 hours.

“Thus festivals and open day style events involving play of multiple teams on the same day are not permitted,” Sport Malta said.

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