Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
Dear Minister Chebat,
I write this letter, having failed to grab your attention using other means of communication (and that of other Ministries and Government departments involved in the drafting of recent Statutory Instruments written and implemented in valiant efforts by the Government of Belize to combat and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus), in the hope that it might be more successful in resulting in a reply.
The purpose of my attempting communication is to ask for a clarification around the blanket banning of contact sports – like rugby – which has been implemented without any consideration of, or consultation with, people involved in such sports. I know this, because had there been consultation, we would have explained that whilst banning the PLAYING of contact sports is a move we support, there has been no discussion around TRAINING by players of such sports. Thus, we need clarification, and we need to understand why TRAINING has been lumped with PLAYING – with no apparent basis in logic or reasoning. Most contact sports groups were required, by local, regional and global governing bodies, to produce a non-contact-training and return-to-play programme. We, that is RUGBY BELIZE, did this, and our programme was submitted to the Belize Olympic Association and the National Sports Council for approval. I believe this document was also submitted to other interested parties. I believe it was approved. Months later, we are still waiting for a response from the Ministry of Health & Wellness.
Meanwhile, rugby players – like many other athletes – are frustrated with being unable to train with their teammates to maintain their skills, and prepare for future tournaments.
Non-contact training – to maintain ball skills especially – is designed SPECIFICALLY to avoid contact between players. There is no logical reason to prevent this from being carried out. None. Especially if non-contact sports – like Volleyball – are allowed to proceed. Thus, I ask you to reconsider this blanket ban on sports, or at least consult with people who know about these things, so we can respond to and advise athletes on what can be done.
Founder & President, Belize Rugby Football Union