Commission amends protocols for sports

Fiji National Sports Commission chairman Peter Mazey. Picture: SUPPLIED/FT FILE

Fijian organisations have been advised to strictly adhere to sports regulations set out by Government to allow games to continue in the country.

Effective yesterday, the Fiji National Sports Commission announced the amended national protocols for sports safety under amber following the daily increase in COVID-19 cases.

Failure to follow the protocols could result in heavy fines, imprisonment, and no visit to Fiji by international teams.

The commission reviewed the protocols to allow sports events in contact and non-contact sports to continue amidst the ongoing pandemic. Sports tournaments can continue, but with no spectators, and at enclosed and fenced facilities.

The Ministry of Health reported that some recent sporting events held publicly failed to follow safe COVID-19 protocols, hence no community sporting event will now be held on open grounds or facilities.

“Sports is important to our lives and I can’t stress what sportspeople mean to Fiji,” FNSC chairman Peter Mazey said.

“They are contributing more money in remittances. Millions of dollars are coming annually which is helping our economy.”

Failure to follow the amended protocols such as the refusal to wear mask could affect arrangements to have international teams visiting Fiji and Fiji teams playing abroad.

“We have some events planned for this year on a number of sports and there will be visiting teams. These will be possible if we follow the rules.”

The amended protocols include unvaccinated athletes, officials and children being barred from sports events and no inter-island travels for tournaments.

Fines of up to thousands of dollars and imprisonment could be imposed on those who fail to follow the amended protocols.

Mazey said Fiji could not afford to lose athletes and events.

“We are losing athletes and we are concerned about the long term effects of COVID-19 on sports people. Can a rugby player play a full match after he has COVID-19?

Please remember that our whole team got COVID-19 during their northern tour in 2020, so we don’t want this to happen again.”

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