The local football federation has had to shelve plans to host “a series of football activities to engage [its] membership in communities across the nation.”
A letter dispatched to the federation’s affiliates on Tuesday 27, July announced the unfortunate development.
It read in part, “having completed our plan of action, the Tournaments Committee and the secretariat reviewed and utilized the COVID-19 Protocols guidelines [sic] issued by the Ministry of Health (Public Health COVID-19 Gathering Rules 2021) to obtain approval for the proposed tournaments.
“In keeping with the above protocols, we wrote to, and obtained approval from the office of the Commissioner of Police on July 9, 2021 to host both the Inter League Invitational and the Female Club Invitational tournaments.”
In the intervening week the SVG Football Federation “proceeded to make final arrangements to host the tournament and, last weekend, announced the commencement dates.
“However, on Monday July 26, 2021, we received a correspondence from the office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) advising that “only fully vaccinated (two doses at least two weeks prior to the event) players and officials over 18 years of age may participate”.”
The secretariat therefore made the executive decision “to postpone the proposed start dates.”
Though no new timetable was suggested the SVGFF committed to “explore all possible ways of having football played in a safe environment and maintain dialogue with all stakeholders including the government until common ground is reached.”
The missive further promised to keep the general abreast of the developing situation while intimating that “an Extraordinary Congress” will be convened so that “the current COVID-19 situation will be further discussed.”
The delayed tourney development comes ahead of moves to introduce a further amendment to the Public Health Act which is expected to be presented in the House of Parliament of Thursday July 28.
One section of that proposed amendment defines the Health Minister’s responsibility to the nation providing a “public health emergency has been declared.”
Though the CMO is ultimately charged with advising the Minister’s action, in the amended Act, it is unclear if that amendment would also legitimize the ‘vaccinated only’ policy as communicated to the SVGFF.