Sports officials on Friday welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow the resumption of practices for basketball and football.
Philippine Football Federation secretary Ed Gastanes said they will be guided by protocols set by the international body FIFA and the World Health Organization when club teams finally get on the ground to do their fitness training in an outdoor setting.
“With the practices, we have around 30 days before any tournament begins and this will give the players their needed match fitness,” said Gastanes.
Philippine Basketball Association chairman Ricky Vargas said they will be calling a special board to discuss the decision.
“Once we get that official statement (from IATF) not only the news, we will immediately call for a board meeting, special board meeting. I am excited and very grateful,” said Vargas.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said he is now getting in touch with club owners. Scrimmages will most likely resume in the latter part of the month.
“I met the coaches, the trainers and the managers on this. Now, we will meet with the board within 5 to 7 days over this decision,” added Marcial.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that the IATF has given the green light after reviewing the protocols submitted by the PBA and the PFF.
“Basketball is already allowed by the IATF and the decision was only made yesterday. It’s conditioning only, no game,” said Roque.
The protocols were forwarded by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Games and Amusements Board last month after consultations with various national sports associations.
Under a General Enhanced Community Quarantine, practice sessions will be limited to just five athletes on the floor in basketball, and in the field for football.
In a Modified GCQ setup, as many as 10 athletes can do workouts together.
Basketball and football officials will still discuss the venue for practices, since many facilities are currently being used as quarantine and testing areas.
Also, Philippine horse-racing could be back by the third weekend of July, without the usual crowd and fans at the racing clubs, provided that the National Capital Region is already under a Modified General Community Quarantine.
Meanwhile, PSC Officer in Charge Ramon Fernandez said they will meet next week with the Philippine Olympic Committee and football president Mariano Araneta in his capacity as chef de mission of the Tokyo Olympics.
“We shall await more information and instructions from the IATF on the joint working group between Games and Amusement Board, the Department of Health and the PSC so we can proceed more efficiently and effectively. We plan to meet with POC and CDM Nonong Araneta to discuss the resumption of training of the national team, especially the Olympic hopefuls,” said Fernandez.