Botswana Softball Association (BSA) National Executive Committee (NEC) has taken a resolution to declare the 2019/2020 BoFiNet Softball League null and void, BSA mouthpiece Thato Matenge has told this publication.
The softball league has been inactive for almost five months due to measures that were introduced to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. At the time at which it was stopped, the BSA BoFiNet League was 50 percent complete in the Southern Region whereas teams in the Northern Region played 20 to 30 percent of their games.
Information reaching this publication suggests that the association has now decided to cancel the season after months of inactivity. “We have reached an agreement to nullify the 2019/20 season,” Matenge said. “ That is because we were not able to complete the season, we were left with about 105 games (North and South) to complete the league, that is excluding the championship, top 10 and 12.”
Matenge said the other reason why they decided to cancel the league is to allow teams to comply to the COVID-19 rules and regulations. “Most of the teams are yet to comply but for them to start training they have to comply to the regulations ,” he noted. “Some of the playing fields were not compliant.”
With that, the BSA mouthpiece highlighted that there is no loser or winner in their league this season . “So it was agreed that a portion of the money that was meant for this season be given to teams for COVID-19 compliance,” he said. “The remaining balance will be shared by all teams that took part in the league this season.” Matenge said they expect all teams to be ready and compliant for the new season in January 2020.
Meanwhile, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in June published a set of health and operational recommendations for the safe return of baseball and softball activity. The precautionary measures and recommendations- named “Safe Return to Baseball/Softball COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines” – have been developed by the WBSC Medical Commission in accordance with the World Health Organization’s risk assessment tool and “Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19”.
Recommendations by WBSC specific to softball games, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections include: avoidance of equipment sharing by players, batters retrieving their own bat when possible and players (in particular pitchers), avoidance to lick their fingers. Some of the recommendations include the cleaning of bases every half inning and keeping a minimum physical distance of one meter in the dugout. WBSC nevertheless encouraged National Federations, leagues and other baseball/softball entities to develop their own specific written policies and operating protocols in coordination with their respective local health authorities be-fore returning to competition.