Pro athletes can train again as admin order finally released

Pro athletes can train again as admin order finally released

Professional athletes can finally resume practices. Dennis Acosta (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The long wait is over for the play-for-pay athletes.

The Games and Amusements Board on Monday officially released the joint administrative order that will clear the said sportsmen to train again.

This came four and a half months after the last time a professional sports team, the former Ceres Negros Football Club now known as United City, was in action prior to placing the Philippines under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are so happy and excited that finally after more than four months our professional football and basketball players can now shake off some pounds they may have acquired during the quarantine," GAB chairman Baham Mitra said in a statement. "It is effective immediately."

In the order signed by Mitra, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, and health secretary Francisco Duque, only non-contact sports and individual exercises will be allowed in areas placed under enhanced community quarantine and modified ECQ.

Meanwhile, in the case of PBA, PFL, and Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 teams, a maximum of five players will be allowed to do conditioning drills together at a time in areas under the lighter general community quarantine.

On the other hand, up to 10 players will be allowed to train at a time in areas under MGCQ with strict local action.

Regarding combat sports events, training can resume in areas under GCQ and MGCQ provided that the pugilists do not contract any symptom of COVID-19 within 14 days.

Scrimmages and actual games can resume in areas under the "new normal", that is, MGCQ without strict local action, provided that the leagues will comply with the provisions in the JAO.

On the other hand, GAB will also allow fighters to compete abroad as long as they already acquired pro licenses from the said agency.

"We expect them to practice maybe for a month or two to be match fit and hopefully when quarantine levels go down, they may be allowed to eventually play," added Mitra.

In the JAO, however, GAB also reserves the right to slap those who violated the protocols with fines and even legal actions.

GAB's medical section and legal division will further discuss the signed JAO in an online meeting with its stakeholders on Wednesday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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