Mitra seeks clarity on boxing restart
By Joaquin Henson
Sat, 04 Jul 2020
There appears to be some confusion on whether boxing was approved among the contact sports to restart by the IATF during a zoom meeting last Thursday. GAB chairman Baham Mitra said yesterday although boxing wasn’t included in the IATF’s Technical Working Group (TWG) list of recommended pro sports to resume, it seemed like a consensus was reached for a go-signal with Secretaries Eduardo Ano and Silvestre Belo commenting that fighters are deprived of their livelihood without bouts and if they test negative for COVID-19 and strict protocols are followed, maybe they could return to action.
“We’re asking for a review of the IATF meeting,” said Mitra. “We’ll seek clarification and insist on the minutes.” Last Wednesday, the TWG chaired by Undersecretary Brigido Dulay thumbed down a restart for boxing. But at the IATF meeting the next day, Ano and Belo were apparently inclined to approve a restart along with the resumption of practice for 3x3 and 5x5 basketball and football. Secretary Karlo Nograles initially presided at the IATF meeting then Secretary Francisco Duque took over. What was clearly denied by the IATF was the restart of cockfighting.
“I was under the impression that boxing was carried,” said Mitra. “Many countries have resumed boxing and we’ve studied their health protocols for application. Our appeal is in behalf of the boxers because for them, it’s no fight, no pay.” Mitra was on standby for 1 1/2 hours before the zoom meeting began at 4 p.m. to take up the PSC-GAB-DOH Joint Administrative Order guidelines on the conduct of health-enhancing physical activities and sports during the pandemic. The meeting took about 20 minutes.
Although the IATF approval of training was only for pro sports, Mitra said the Chooks To Go 3x3 training program linked to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Austria next May was also given the green light. “At the moment, the 3x3 program isn’t under GAB but we don’t want to alienate any sport or league,” said Mitra. “Coach Eric (Altamirano) asked us to support 3x3 and told me he plans to make it professional to formalize GAB supervision. Any sport or league may go direct to the IATF but for sure, the IATF will want to know who is the regulating body, who will supervise and who will control to make sure health and safety protocols are followed.”
Mitra said leagues like the MPBL, PVL and Philippine Superliga will benefit from GAB supervision because the IATF makes it a point to determine which agency is the controlling authority. Only a few games are left to close out the suspended MPBL schedule but the IATF ruled out contact sports and activities for non-pros “until an effective vaccine and established standard of care is put in place for COVID-19 cases.” Mitra thanked Sen. Bong Go, Undersecretary Jenny Ong, the IATF and TWG for supporting the restart of sports.
Mitra said under GCQ, the PBA may resume practice up to five participants. The limit will increase to 10 under MGCQ and 20 under No CQ. The PBA earlier requested for a maximum of six participants, including four players. Mitra said the five allowed participants could be four players and a trainer with the health officer at the entry gate.
Regarding the playing of PBA games, Mitra said this was not discussed although it is definite that there will be no live audience in case the season is restarted. “Maybe, after a month of practices, we could request the TWG when to begin scrimmages and when games may be held,” he said. PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said he will call a conference of the league coaches and team managers to explain the training protocols then request for an emergency Board of Governors meeting to approve the restart. If the health and safety measures are in order, Marcial said training could begin by July 20.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.
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