We are anxiously waiting...ISSA

Regional

We are anxiously waiting...ISSA

The Sporting EDGE

With Paul Reid

Thursday, July 16, 2020

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The clock is ticking for the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) to say whether the schoolboys' football season will go ahead, or will be called off.

Understandably, hundreds of people, who will be directly involved such as players, coaches, team staff and members of the media, are somewhat on edge as they await the decision that will be taken following months of extensive consultations with all stakeholders.

ISSA have said on several occasions that the health and safety of all involved will be the basis on which the decision would be made and the Government through the Ministry of Health and Wellness will have the final say.

In the last 70 years, the competition has only been called off once due to medical problems, and that was in 1954 during a polio outbreak and there were three other stoppages due to 'human interference'. Now there are serious concerns that the 2020-21 season could be cancelled out of an abundance of caution, if ISSA cannot satisfy the Government that they can put on the competitions in as safe a manner as possible.

Word is that it's not just schoolboys' football that is in danger of not being played, but the concerns are also with the Red Stripe Premier League that has just 12 teams, far less than the average 120 schools that take part in both the daCosta Cup and Manning Cup competitions each year.

Testing for COVID-19, and who will pay for it, seems to be at the heart of the decision, as well as how many schools would be able to comply with protocols that will have to be put in place.

How many schools will be able to afford the basic things such as increased sanitising, extra coaches, space for social distancing and if the decision is taken not to allow crowds, how many fields have the security to prevent this?

I am hoping for many reasons that there will be football, both schoolboys and club football, and I am prepared for football being played under different conditions, as well.

Sports play a very important part in our lives, and if as we have heard that COVID-19 will be around for at least the next few years, can we go without sports for the next few years?


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