Don’t get physical

PUTRAJAYA: The long wait is finally over for the football fraternity. The national footballers and the M-League teams will now be allowed to train after nearly three months of inactivity.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican (pic), in a press conference, clarified that while competitions involving team sports like football, rugby, hockey are still barred, training was allowed.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement on the recovery movement control order (RMCO) on Sunday had raised a number of questions on the status of the M-League and football activities in the country.

But Reezal made things crystal clear.

He said training for the team sports were allowed, provided there is no physical contact, and the standard operating procedures (SOP) like social distancing are followed.

“All sporting competitions remain barred. However, team sports are now allowed to train provided that there’s no physical contact, ” Reezal told the press conference. “What is not allowed is matchplay.”

Reezal added that this ruling was for the RMCO period from June 10 to Aug 31 but if the Covid-19 situation in the country keeps showing improvement, sporting activities could be allowed to operate under the new norm.

“This decision allows the national teams under the Football Association of Malaysia, teams in the M-League, registered football academies to resume training without contact. This is similar to other football leagues like the English Premier League who have started their football training.

“This is the first phase to allow leeway in the training for team sports. Let us enjoy this phase first and as the situation improves, we might see more relaxed regulations.”

He said the same applied for sports like swimming where recreational activities would be allowed. People can swim and play outdoors in rivers, lakes and the sea but swimming pools were out of bounds. All recreational sports will also be allowed, as long as there was no physical contact.

Reezal said he was confident that the sporting community in the country would be able to embrace the new norm and continue to stem the spread of Covid-19.

“Collective responsibility and self-regulation are crucial at this stage.

“The public showed a high level of adherence in the three months of the MCO and it gave the government the confidence to relax the regulations, ” he said.

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