The Maltese Olympic Committee joined the chorus of disapproval from sporting bodies on Thursday following the government’s decision to omit sports from the list of activities where a COVID-19 vaccine certificate will no longer be needed next month.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced in his speech in Parliament that vaccination certificates will not be needed for entry into restaurants, snack bars, and social clubs from February 7.
From February 14, certificates will not be needed for entry to bars, gyms, spas, pools, cinemas and theatres.
They will continue for the time being to be needed for entry for mass events, sports events, gaming halls, nightclubs, and travel.
The Maltese Olympic Committee issued a statement to voice their disappointment at the government’s decision not to include outdoor sports events in the list of easing measures.
“Following the announcement by the Minister for Health Dr Chris Fearne, yesterday, Tuesday 25th January, whereby vaccination certificates will no longer be mandatory for entry into several venues, the Maltese Olympic Committee would like to express its disappointment at the Ministry’s decision not to include outdoor sports events in this list of easing of measures,” the Maltese Olympic Committee said in a statement.
“The exclusion of outdoor social events shows the lack of regard to sports in general and its stakeholders who have been patiently waiting for some regard being shown towards them and their efforts. It is disappointing to see that strict measures seem only applicable to certain cohorts of the population.
“It is discouraging to see such a continuous and blatant disregard for sport and highly demotivating towards the efforts that ALL entities have had to put towards an attempt to practice sport but keep on getting hindered with situations like these.”
The MOC said that the latest decision are likely to continue to hinder Maltese athletes’ preparation ahead of next year’s Games of the Small States of Europe that will be held in Malta.
“The Maltese Olympic Committee would like to point out that such measures will continue to hinder athletes’ preparation for the forthcoming Mediterranean Games, Commonwealth Games, and the Games of the Small States of Europe, which are planned to be hosted in Malta in 2023,” the statement said.
“Inconsistencies such as removing vaccination requirement for indoor events but enforcing its application for outdoor sports is appalling, to say the least.
“Furthermore, these inconsistencies have created a perception that the booster is now only needed by persons attending sports events as the vaccination will not remain obligatory for a host of other events.
“The Maltese Olympic Committee, on behalf of the Federations it represents, appeals to the Government to ensure that sport is given equal opportunities as other industries.”