Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Monday, September 14, 2020 at the Ministry in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, Youth and Sports Minister, Dester Zeogar Wilson, declared the ban on all sport activities s officially lifted, but with caution in adherence to the rules and guidelines. “We are effectively lifting the ban on sports as of today’s date. But the lifting of the lifting of the activities has guidelines that each federation has to follow. After this meeting, we will issue guidelines. One of the concerns of the Ministry of Health had been how do we monitor. We will be engaged in monitoring the federations. These guidelines also have penalty,” he stated.
As part of the many guidelines, Minister Wilson disclosed that players playing the various sports will have to be tested before resuming, noting that the Ministry will coordinate the testing of members of the various federations and associations. “We are prepared to coordinate your testing, because you have huge numbers. We will arrange it. All you have to do is that you get you players for testing and you resume,” he asserted. He also disclosed that all match officials from the respective sporting disciplines will be equally tested before being allowed to handle any match. “Those that will be tested positive will be quarantined, and those negative will resume. The same applied to match officials; they will equally be tested. Those playing will not wear masks, but those on the bench will have masks and observe social distancing. Another key thing of these guidelines is that there will be no spectators,” he warned.
The MYS boss vowed to punish any sport federation or association caught in violation or breech of any of these guidelines. “Any federation breeching these guidelines will be suspended for a time to be determined by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. If we will go to county meet in December, we might likely have county meet without spectators depending on the case situation at the time. We want to make sure that you observe these guidelines,” the Minister added.
It could be recalled that normal sport activities were suspended indefinitely due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged the country since March of this year. However, with things once again returning to normality, especially so with a significant drop in the number of cases coupled with the resumption of major sports activities across Europe and elsewhere across the African continent and other places, the Liberian government decided to now lift the ban on various games. Accordingly, the meeting, which was conducted by the MYS Minister, brought together stakeholders that would include the presidents and or vice presidents of the various sports associations and federations in the country.
Prominent of those associations and federations are: the Liberia Football Association (LFA), Liberia Basketball Association (LBA) and Liberia Kickball Federation (LKF) among others. The decision by the Liberian government to lift the ban on sports comes barely three months to the country’s biggest sports festival, the National County Sports Meet, which normally kicks off in December every year. Preliminaries of the county meet will be played across four counties with Montserrado being one of the four host counties. The other hosts include Bong, Gbarpolu and Sinoe Counties. As usual, two teams (counties) with the highest points will qualify from each group before proceeding to Monrovia for the quarters, semis and the grand finals.