THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, welcomed the decision of the World Boxing Council (WBC) to adopt a protocol for the holding of boxing cards and other activities behind closed doors.
Mitra said the WBC under Mauricio Sulaiman did the right thing in setting a new system of rules and establishing the conditions to carry out boxing cards behind closed doors in compliance with all the regulations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
A three-time lawmaker from Palawan, Mitra agreed with the WBC official that the “global health impact caused by the COVID-19 is devastating, including the economic and social repercussions that it will leave in the sporting world.”
“We all know by now the social and economic problems created by the outbreak of the coronavirus, especially in sports,” said Mitra, who was personally appointed by President Duterte as head of the government sports regulatory agency in 2016.
Mitra said he agreed with the WBC observation that “millions of people depend economically on the performance of boxing activities. Technical teams, boxing commissions, service providers, arenas staff, in addition to boxers and their families, have been seriously affected.”
In a statement, the WBC said it “believes that bringing home televised and live boxing matches will have a highly positive and beneficial impact on the well-being of the spectators, especially in this time of social distancing and health quarantine. The public that greatly enjoys these events refers to the need and the desire to be able to see their fighters inside the ring.”
“All of the above is fully documented in the medical literature from a psychological point of view, being able to observe these recreational and sports activities produces an improvement in people’s mood and mental health.”
“At the World Boxing Council, we consider in a very serious and responsible way the feasibility of carrying out boxing functions behind closed doors, and with television transmission adhering to strict sanitary control and following the guidelines established by world health organizations such as the WHO and the guidelines of local authorities.”
In its recommendation, the WBC proposes protocol for boxers, members of their team and personnel participating in the card as well as sanitation of venues and headquarters.
Among the other WBC proposals are:
— Submission of health questionnaires by boxers and members of their teams for proper risk assessment of the medical doctor; Boxers and members of their teams must have a second COVID 19 test, 14 days after the initial test;
— Use of “Online Judges”, a system developed by the WBC, which would allow to reduce the number of people present in the card;
— Virtual interviews before and after the fights. Boxing cards will not be open to the media and only interviews and press conferences by virtual means will be allowed.
— Presence of the medical committee of the Event will be formed by a team of specialists in different areas of health, who have experience in the treatment of infectious diseases, as well as the application of health safety protocols.