A group of 15 sports organisations and federations, including the Infront agency and Italy’s Lega Serie A, have today (Thursday) launched a global initiative designed to unite the sporting community in efforts to encourage policymakers to safely re-open sporting events and fan participation amid Covid-19.
Along with Infront and the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, #Sport4Recovery’s founding underwriters include the International Ski Federation (FIS), International Basketball Federation (Fiba), Basketball Champions League, Basketball Champions League Americas, International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), European Volleyball Federation (CEV), Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (E.H.C.), and MXGP.
The bulk of the sports bodies are clients of Infront but others, including the French Swimming Federation (FFN) and Le Five, the French amateur five-a-side football organisation, are also included in a campaign designed for all stakeholders and agencies across the industry.
In addition to communicating with policymakers, the campaign aims to work with the scientific community to highlight the importance of sport for mental and physical health recovery as well as to mobilise athletes and sports fans.
Sarah Lewis, secretary general of the FIS and the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), said: “We believe that sport can serve as a role model for other sectors of society in demonstrating and promoting the organisation of safe and controlled activities and we welcome sports organisations and stakeholders involved in sport around the world to join our movement. After all, organised sport is already staged according to controlled procedures and comprehensive health and safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of all involved.”
The founding underwriters have called on governments to address eight key points. These include working with sports governing bodies and other stakeholders to develop and approve detailed protocols to enable the timely re-opening of venues, training and competition.
The members are calling for the protection of the sports sector from “further massive economic and structural damage” through governments actively supporting the development of a sustainable pathway to re-open when it is safe for everyone involved.
They are requesting the easing of national and international travel and accommodation regulations for top athletes, teams and officials, in line with health and safety protocols. In line with the safety principles that are being established for other sectors they want governments to enable spectators to attend live sporting events and begin to ease national and international travel and accommodation regulations for spectators and fans.
The #Sport4Recovery group has said it is fully committed to working with governments and health authorities to ensure this is done safely, in accordance with the necessary measures such as testing for top athletes, social distancing, defined hygiene measures, and monitoring and tracking protocols sanctioned by government authorities.
Patrick Comninos, chief executive of the Basketball Champions League, added: “With the cessation of organised sport comes tremendous uncertainty presently for our sector, including the grassroots and youth development level, which has been shaped and grown over decades and provides a key societal function as well as an important economic impact contribution globally, nationally and in local communities.”