Kiren Rijiju
Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju. Image credit: Twitter

With two advisories confusing many athletes, Union sports & youth affairs minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday clarified that there is no restriction on playing but the guidelines must be followed.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, the Union sports & youth affairs has issued two advisories as precautionary measures to avoid the disease.

Sharing the two advisories, Rijiju tweeted on Thursday: “There are many confusions amongst the athletes at this moment. Two advisories are issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports for matches abroad and the domestic.”

“There’s (sic) no restrictions on playing but guidelines to be followed strictly in the larger interest of health,” the union minister clarified.

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An advisory has been issued to the president/secretary general of IOA; presidents/secretary generals of NSFs (recognized)/suspended/de-recognized/all sports bodies (recognized/unrecognized) and the president/secretary of the BCCI.

The advisory, issued by S.P.S. Tomar, deputy secretary to the government of India said: “To deal with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued advisories and advised the State Governments to take appropriate action under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.”

“You are advised to adhere to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event. In the event the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing gathering of people, including spectators,” I said.

The chief secretaries of all the states and union territories and the secretaries of sports departments of all the states and union territories have been asked to ensure compliance.

The ministry has also issued a travel advisory to the presidents/secretary generals and all the national sports federations to be exercised due to the effect of coronavirus.

“In view of the recent epidemic of Novel Coronavirus 2019 across the world, the Government would like to advise all National Sports Federations (NSFs) to exercise caution while planning foreign competitions and training for the teams, especially in view of the of the forthcoming Olympics at Tokyo 2020,” it said.

“We also understand that IOA has issued an advisory based on the IOC’s position on the same,” it said.

“While the Government understands the criticality of ranking tournaments and Olympic qualifiers, you would understand that the health of our athletes always takes precedence,” said the advisory issued by R. Rajagopalan (Retd.), CEO, Target Olympic Podium Scheme, Sports Authority of India.

Through the advisory, the NSFs have been requested “to adhere by the WHO guidelines, as indicated in the IOC’s letter ibid.”

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