Representatives of 26 sports federations in Bulgaria have signed an open letter objecting to the Health Minister’s proposal to shut down sports events as part of tougher restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Health Minister Kostadin Angelov spelt out his proposals at a news conference on November 23 and is seeking Cabinet approval for them to take effect on November 27.
In the open letter, addressed to Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Sports Minister Krassen Kralev and Angelov, the sports federations said: “All sports people are involved in the efforts of the government and the health authorities to deal with the difficult situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.”
We were the people who fully supported the order for the competitions to be completely closed so that the situation could return to normal as soon as possible.”
But they asked that sport not be completely shut down, saying that it was among the sectors that had suffered the most damage from Covid-19.
“Athletes are the most frequently tested people, they play under the strictest possible medical regulations (especially in team sports), the temperature of the participants is constantly measured, the balls and devices are disinfected.”
The letter said that the protocols were copied from international headquarters.
“It has been proven that athletes are one of the healthiest individuals. In addition, many of them have already contracted the coronavirus and even donate plasma to those in need,” the letter said.
“Judging by the experience of the big countries, which imposed a lockdown weeks ago, we see that sports around the world do not stop. At the beginning of the pandemic (from mid-March to early June), research showed that one of the biggest problems for the psyche of the population was the lack of sporting events.
“Even in the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, there is currently no talk of ending sports competitions. On the contrary – sports are extremely necessary for people at a time when they are expected to be locked in their homes for a long time.”
An example of this is the fact that the most watched volleyball, football and basketball tournaments in the world do not stop, the sports federations said.
“Our teams in these, but also other sports, play in international matches and it would be a big blow to them if they have to leave the competitions.”
The letter said that the leaders of some of the largest federations had analysed the situation at the moment and said that sport would follow “medical protocols to the last letter”.
“We assure you that in an extremely difficult time for Bulgaria, television sport could be a healing pill for the psychological health of people. Please take our request into account and do not completely stop sports activities,” the letter said.
Angelov’s proposed measures have included shutting down restaurants, bars and cafes for some weeks, leading to objections from organisations representing Bulgaria’s hotel and restaurant industry.
His proposals have been welcomed by the Bulgarian Medical Association.
(Photo: Juan Carlos Arellano)
The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.
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