Gaborone - The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has taken a decision to take the bullet for all sporting codes should international mother bodies attempt to slap local sport codes with sanctions.
The BNSC is the national governing body for all sports in Botswana.
BNSC chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo, confirmed that his organisation had seen it fit to defend the decision to cancel scheduled competitions as a result of the coronavirus.
“In the event that sporting codes are likely to be slapped with sanctions at international level for missing competitions as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, we will assist them. It is not a take or leave it situation. There are reasons to mitigate and I believe we have a strong case,” he said.
The BNSC chief also stated that government had taken a decision to cancel all planned external travel of Botswana national teams and the hosting of any international teams until further notice.
He said this was a precautionary measure to protect sport persons from possible infection by the virus and to reduce its possible spread to Botswana.
BNCS said the decision was made considering the serious consequences of infection of any of sports persons and the risk to the entire nation.
Sedimo said it was therefore important that Botswana sport plays its part and acts responsibly in the midst of this health crisis. The BNSC said travel restrictions will therefore remain in force until further notice, the situation will continue to be monitored and seek appropriate medical advice.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Football Association has said that its Emergency Committee held a meeting on 12 March to discuss and assess the situation relating to the coronavirus (Covid-19).
“Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation and therefore, the association has taken a decision to temporarily suspend all football activities until April 10, 2020,” the association said in a statement.
It said the decision has been necessitated by the need to mitigate the risk of infection. This decision will be kept under constant review.
“The health and well-being of our players, supporters and stakeholders, and those involved in the operation of the football matches is of utmost importance. We will constantly assess and monitor the situation, get advice and guidance from government and health officials and put contingency plans in place to respond to any emerging trends to Covid-19,” the association said.
Botswana's Under-17 girls side has since missed the return leg of the World Cup qualifiers, which was due to be played in Morocco.
Meanwhile the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare, told reporters that he has suspended sports activities due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Rakgare said the BFA had suspended games following pronouncement by CAF and other codes should follow suit.
“Africa qualifiers have been cancelled so BFA has stopped Premier League games and Orange FA Cup games until the situation normalises. They took the decision after consulting us. I request those who do not fall under the mainstream football such as Sunday football but they should also stop their activities,” he said.
He noted that sporting codes must reduce numbers of people during their activities and games that are not important should be cancelled.
Rakgare said other sporting codes should follow in the footsteps of the BFA.
“The association consulted us that they were thinking of suspending their activities because football attracts large crowds. We agreed that they should suspend activities,” he said.