LAHORE-Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza on Friday said that the sports activities resumption date will be announced after Eid-ul-Azha.

The COVID19 pandemic put all the sports activities in the country on halt in the middle of March, while all the events were scrapped for an indefinite period. “We are preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with the consensus of all the stakeholders including all the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to resume sports activities. Soon after Eid, we will announce the date to resume sports activities in three phases,” said Fehmida said.

The IPC Minister said in the first phase, the games such as badminton and table tennis, wherein it is easier to maintain social distancing, will be started. “In the second phase, team games will be resumed while adhering to the safety measures while in the third phase, we will invite the foreign teams of different disciplines to visit Pakistan to chip in some events here.”

About the national cricket team’s tour to England, she said Pakistan’s response for the resumption of international sports activities had been very positive as it sent cricket outfit to England, giving a message to the world that healthy activities should continue.

To a query regarding the Common Wealth Sports Ministers Video Conference, which took place on Thursday, the IPC Minister said views were exchanged on the challenges posed to sports due to Coronavirus. “In the meeting, the sports ministers shared their views on how sports activities have been affected in their countries because of COVID-19 and what steps their governments are taking to ward off the challenges,” she said.

She said all international sports events were postponed and the athletes have been badly affected. “The meeting also talked about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed due to COVID-19. It was discussed that if a vaccine is not discovered in time, whether these will happen in 2021 or will be pushed to 2022.”

Fehmida briefed the sports ministers about the latest situation of coronavirus in Pakistan and the measures taken by the govt to control it. “I told them that our government has formed a Command and Control Center to ensure effective coordination among the federal and provincial govt’s to tackle the pandemic.”

She said the govt would support the athletes. “I have also held a meeting with the provincial sports ministers. I have asked them to support the athletes, federations, and coaches as after the 18th amendment, sports have become a provincial subject.

“On our part, we have tried our best and gave away cash prizes to medal winners of South Asian Games besides providing funds to the federations, whose performances have been up to the mark. I hope the money will be utilized for the professional uplift of the athletes and coaches.”