FOLLOWING the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) last week to allow it to resume some activities, particularly the holding of team practices, the Philippines Football League (PFL) is now working on its next moves to take.
In an announcement made on July 3, the IATF approved the administrative order allowing the conduct of health-enhancing physical activities and sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic as recommended by pertinent government agencies.
The decision paved the way for the return to some activities of sports organizations like the PFL and Philippine Basketball Association.
Prior to the decision, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), which oversees the affairs of the PFL, made representations to the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) for guidance to convince the IATF, the lead body in the country’s fight against COVID-19, to allow sports to return gradually, first with practices and then for matches to resume in different leagues.
Back in May, the PFF submitted the 26-page “PFF Operations Protocol for the Philippines Football League,” which prescribed the steps and protocols for the resumption of training, and eventually playing of matches, following guidelines that can be obtained from issuances of FIFA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the IATF.
Among those included in the protocol is that training sessions must be conducted with a maximum of 10 people per session with a 30-minute interval in between sessions.
“We thank both IATF and GAB, headed by Chairman Abraham Mitra, for their approval in ensuring that professional sports may push through despite the ongoing pandemic,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. in a statement. “The next step now is to ensure the health and safety of the players, as we prepare for the eventual start of training of PFL teams.”
The PFL said the next move is meeting with all the clubs about the approved protocols which need to be observed by all stakeholders.
The league was supposed to start its new season in March but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back to a still-to-be-determined date.
In an earlier interview with BusinessWorld, PFL Commissioner Coco Torre shared that they are confident of successfully staging a fourth season of the league despite the pandemic forcing them to adjust here and there. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo