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Sport set to be released from Covid purgatory

Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, announced that sport will soon return (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Sport will soon move into Stage 3 of the Return to Play guidance, with David Burt, the Premier, announcing yesterday in his public address that football is set to begin its season on the weekend of October 23.

The recent spike in Covid cases forced the start of the season to be delayed in early September, with the Charity Cup and Dudley Eve Trophy cancelled for the season.

When football does return in two weeks’ time, it will mark almost 11 months since competitive matches were last played in Bermuda, after the 2020-21 season ended on December 6 last year.

Attempts to reach the Bermuda Football Association for comment last evening were unsuccessful, although Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, confirmed that sport would soon be returning.

“Our sports governing bodies are familiar with our Return to Play Guidelines, it’s important that clubs and athletes continue to employ their Covid protocols as we move into competitive training and the return to competition,” Peets said last night while reminding that restrictions still apply.

“Group sizes are still restricted to 20 unless an exemption is approved. We’ll provide information to our NSGBs regarding the introduction of 4(a) to our Return to Play guidance and a framework that introduces antigen testing for the safe return of sport.”

After a spike in positive Covid results, sport events were stopped in the second week of September when the cricket season’s First Division competition was halted in the wake of a player testing positive.

At the BFA’s annual congress meeting last week, 11 football teams expressed their intention to resume training this week, as Mark Wade, the BFA president, updated the clubs on latest discussions with the Government.

At yesterday’s 4pm press conference, the Premier offered some encouraging news to the clubs, although limits of 20 people at gatherings could mean no fans at the matches initially.

“Large group gatherings of more than 20 persons require a large-group exemption from the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport, and they also require the use of SafeKey for all in attendance,” Burt said yesterday.

“The Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport also advises that sport is moving to Stage 3 of Return to Play, which is competitive training to prepare for competition.

“I can also report that the ministry has informed the Bermuda Football Association that it has been given the approval to recommence the football season on October 23.”

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Published October 07, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated October 07, 2021 at 7:19 am)

Sport set to be released from Covid purgatory

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