Ricky Vargas
Jun Mendoza, File
Pro sports training is back
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With blessing from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the PBA looks to get the teams back to practice by last week of July, carrying brighter hopes of eventually resuming play later on.

“We are very thankful to (Games and Amusements Board) chairman (Baham) Mitra and the IATF,” PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said upon receiving the good news yesterday.

“A special board meeting will be called with urgency so we can inform all teams of the guidelines as we execute the start of training,” he added.

The IATF, upon the endorsement of the GAB, approved the PBA’s proposed guidelines and protocols for a non-scrimmage training restart by batches.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the first order of business is to hold a coaches and team managers’ meeting before convening the board of governors to discuss the nitty gritty of their bubble, closed circuit method training plans.

“We’re looking to start with the training by July 22, and we hope things will continue to improve and allow us to resume the games by September or October,” Marcial told The STAR.

He added personnel of the 12 teams are required to undergo COVID-19 testing and submit the results three days before the practice restart.

The IATF also greenlit the Philippines Football League’s request to hold training sessions of 10 pax per batch at the Philippine Football Federation’s National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

PFF president Nonong Araneta welcomed the decision and thanked the IATF and GAB “for ensuring that professional sports may push through despite the ongoing pandemic.”

“The next step now is to ensure the health and safety of the players, as we prepare for the start of the PFL,” he said.

Mitra clarified that the Palace-approved return to practice applies only to the pros.

“The Palace reiterates that the provision is only for professional athletes for the purpose of practice and conditioning and not for those whose purpose is to play the said sports as a hobby,” he said.

“Conduct of non-professional, contact sports remains prohibited,” he added.

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