The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has given first division football clubs to begin training sessions under the new safety guidelines set against the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter addressed to the President of Football Association of Maldives (FAM) Bassam Adeel Jaleel on Thursday, the Director General of Public Health, Maimoona Aboobakuru confirmed that first division football teams will be allowed to resume practices in accordance with the new guidelines and safety precautions set by the association amid increasing fears of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Director General of Public Health urged caution in order to maintain the safety and security of football officials and players from the fatal infection, as daily infections have been on the rise in the Greater Malé Region for weeks. As such, clubs have been urged to strictly adhere to safety guidelines in place, to help curb the spread of the disease.
Although first division clubs have been given the green light to resume training sessions, the letter urges the association to delay beginning practices by another fortnight owing to the steep increase in daily cases being reported.
At a time HPA has permitted practices to resume, the Dhiraagu Dhivehi Premier League (DDPL) was brought to an abrupt halt on February 3, due to new safety precautions set forth by the public health authorities against spiraling Covid-19 cases.
This led to a wave of concerns by clubs and officials regarding losses that will face players and clubs due to the cancellation, followed by requests to allow practices and DDPL to resume.
Relevant authorities have since revealed that work is currently underway to resume the league, with all players and officials taking part in DDPL having been administered their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccination.
While DDPL was brought to a halt amid the second round, first division clubs kicked off the season’s training sessions in October 2020 under the special guidelines and instructions set collaboratively by HPA and FAM.
Under a special HPA permit, the ongoing season kicked off during December last year with the Charity Shield Match. DDPL also launched in accordance with HPA guidelines, in December and thus far, 34 matches have been played.
This comes at a time the Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) instructed sports teams to halt events and training sessions due to the alarming increase in Covid-19 cases being reported in the Greater Malé Region.