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Jakarta Post

Govt readies health protocols as Indonesia looks to resume sports competitions

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, September 18, 2020   /   11:49 am
Govt readies health protocols as Indonesia looks to resume sports competitions Get ready: The Si Jalak Harupat soccer stadium in Soreang, Bandung regency, is among the stadiums inspected by Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) chief Comr. Gen. M. Iriawan as part of preparations for the U-20 World Cup that is slated to be held in nine stadiums across Indonesia in 2021. (Antaranews/Bagus Ahmad Rizaldi)

The government and national sports association have signed an agreement on the implementation of health protocols for sports competitions as the country prepares to resume the previously-postponed soccer and basketball leagues.

National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the Youth and Sports Ministry, the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and the Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) on Thursday.

“Sports matches are important but the health of all players and organizers should still be our main priority,” Doni said during the ceremony. “[Adhering to] the health protocols is non-negotiable.”

He added that all competitions would be held without spectators in venues to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Organizers should also coordinate with local COVID-19 task force and health agencies prior to the matches.

Read also: The post-COVID world of sports

All athletes, team officials and competition organizers will also be required to regularly undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to ensure that no one was infected by the coronavirus. The COVID-19 task force will provide the testing facilities.

The National COVID-19 task force also forbade athletes, officials and match organizers with a history of chronic illness from taking part in competition. Health authorities recorded that more than 90 percent of COVID-19 patents had comorbidities, putting them at high risk.

Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali conveyed his hope that the associations would comply with the strict health protocols. He also urged the public to watch the matches through television and other broadcasting media.

PSSI chief M. Iriawan said the soccer’s two top leagues, Liga 1 and Liga 2, would resume on Oct. 1 and 17, respectively. Matches would only be held in stadiums in Java to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission from traveling.

Competition had been postponed since March due to coronavirus concerns.