The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) yesterday officially released a joint administrative order (JAO) allowing the professional sports athletes to resume their training.
The release of the order was signed by GAB chairman Baham Mitra, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez, and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. It ended months of waiting for athletes competing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippines Football League (PFL), boxing, mixed martial arts, muay thai, and even the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3×3, which is now seeking full pro status starting this season.
“We are so happy and excited that finally after more than four months our professional football and basketball players can now shake off some pounds they may have acquired during the quarantine,” Mitra said.
Only non-contact sports and individual exercises will be allowed in areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ.
Meanwhile, conditioning activities among professional athletes can resume in areas already under general community quarantine (GCQ).
Among PBA, PFL, and Chooks 3×3 squads, a maximum of five players can do training at a certain period in areas under the regular GCQ.
In areas already shifted into MGCQ with strict local action, up to 10 players can now train at a time.
Regarding the combat sports fighters, they will only be cleared for training if they do not exhibit any symptom of Covid-19 for 14 consecutive days.
Scrimmages and actual games can resume in areas under the “new normal”, that is, MGCQ without strict local action, provided that the leagues will comply with the provisions in the JAO.
“We expect them to practice maybe for a month or two to be match fit and hopefully when quarantine levels go down, they may be allowed to eventually play,” Mitra added.
GAB has also cleared pugilists scheduled to fight abroad to fly to other countries that they will compete as long as they have already acquired pro licenses from the said agency.
Fines and legal actions await athletes and team officials caught violating any of the provisions in the admin order.*PNA